When this review came in from Kaye I was thrilled as I am a huge fan of the author and thought this latest book was simply great. Kaye says it was “very nice.” Either way, the read is a good one. If you have not read Steven F. Havill then get to work.
“Come Dark” by Steven F. Havill
This is the most recent in a very long series of Posadas County Mysteries. It’s the twenty-first if I counted right. This fictional county, located in southeast New Mexico, is home to a varied cast of characters. The series started out focusing on aging Undersheriff Bill Gastner, but this book features the current Undersheriff, Estelle Reyes-Guzman. Both are terrific characters, along with others in the department.
As the book opens, vandalism is being discovered at the strange resort being built by local billionaire, Miles Waddell. Waddell has situated NightZone, his theme park on a mountain top that will be accessible by narrow gauge train and a subsequent tram, wanting the tourists to really want to go there. There will be the usual theme park attractions, but also a gigantic radio telescope dish that is already attracting the notice of scientists from all over the world.
Three weeks after Labor Day, on the same day that the public, including press, is invited to tour the facility, a couple of curious cases pop up in the town below. An alert patrolman, Tom Pasquale, notices an old, battered Illinois license plate on a new car outside the megastore, The Spree. At almost the same time, Stacie Stewart walks into The Spree and never comes out. She has left her baby and her dog in the hot car. The two are rescued quickly, but the hunt is on for Stacie. The two in the Illinois car are questioned about the substance found in their vehicle after removing their disguises, but it turns out to be…alfalfa.
One more meanwhile, the popular high school coach has been gunned down in the girls’ shower right after a wildly successful volleyball match.
It was fun to follow all of these threads, guessing (wrong) the whole time about what was going on.
This is a very nice police procedural with touches of wry humor—full of quirky characters.
Reviewed by Kaye George, author of Requiem in Red, for Suspense Magazine