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Dark Reservations    by John Fortunato order for
Dark Reservations
by John Fortunato
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

John Fortunato's Dark Reservations won the Tony Hillerman prize for best debut mystery set in the Southwest. It introduces Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent Joe Evers, who's been forced into agreeing to early retirement. He fell apart after the death of his beloved wife and bungled an investigation. So he's looking for another job and coasting till his last day, three months from now. But the best laid plans ...

New evidence in a very cold case gradually gets Joe back in the saddle. Under suspicion of corruption, Congressman Arlen Edgerton had disappeared two decades years before along with his driver and his attractive secretary, Faye. Now his vehicle has been found, riddled with bullets, on the Navajo reservation. Joe's boss Dale assigns him the case, and he starts digging alongside rookie Navajo police officer Randall Bluehorse.

Meanwhile readers meet wealthy Arthur Othmann, a collector of black-market Navajo artefacts, and his violent henchman Books, as they kill an FBI snitch before he can talk to the grand jury. And Edgerton's wife Grace, a congresswoman now running for governor, is concerned about the discovery of her husband's car. Though her staff only worry about fallout damaging her own campaign, she loved Arlen and wants to know what really happened to him.

Joe is also approached by Faye's sister Sierra, who never believed that her sister ran away with the Congressman - she wants answers. Soon there are bodies, not all from the original incident, and more shootings. And when Joe's investigation gets close to Othmann, the latter puts a target on his back. Will he survive to enjoy his retirement party?

There's action, betrayal, romance and plenty of political intrigue in Dark Reservations, a strong beginning to a new Southwest mystery series. I'm looking forward to more.

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