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A Discount for Death: A Posadas County Mystery    by Steven F. Havill order for
Discount for Death
by Steven F. Havill
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Steven Havill has written nine Sheriff Bill Gastner mysteries. Now, with A Discount for Death, he gives his fans a second offshoot of the Gastner series featuring Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman.

In the quiet village of Posadas, New Mexico, an insurance agent (who is about to be arrested for fraud) is found dead in his office, and a young mother of two dies in a motorcycle accident, the paternity of her children uncertain. So begins an unusual day in the life of Estelle Reyes-Guzman. The very first page grabbed me and succeeding pages held me in thrall for the remainder of the book.

The main characters are homespun, people likely to inhabit a small town in New Mexico. Even the villains seem like every day personages until their crimes are revealed. Posadas is like any other small town where everyone knows everyone else. It brought back memories of a year of my childhood spent in a very small village in upstate New York.

A Discount for Death is a compelling, suspenseful, fast-paced mystery with a lot of heart. Compassion and caring leak onto the pages, even in the midst of heavy duty action. The author never loses sight of his story line and moves it forward with tight writing.

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