Red, Green or Murder by Steven Havill

redReviewed by Teri Davis

When a person retires from a long-time law enforcement career, being a livestock inspector could be boring. That’s what Bill Gastner, formerly a county sheriff in a remote and quiet area of New Mexico, was thinking about when a ranching accident launches him into a long series of unrelated investigations that all require Bill’s expertise, experience, and contacts in understanding each event. Fortunately, his successor, Estelle Reyes-Guzman respects and welcomes his assistance in her overwhelming position as current sheriff.

First, while moving cattle, a young rancher’s horse is spooked. As the rider attempts to calm the creature, he is thrown off and unfortunately, the horse accidentally steps on his knee. Added to this is a missing ranch hand that leaves behind his dog and the questionable death of a close-friend and retired gun dealer. Are all of these related? How do you investigate each one without feeling guilty for not having answers to questions that keep Bill wondering? What ranch hand would leave behind a working dog that is as important as another human?

What makes RED, GREEN, OR MURDER such a delightful reading experience, is the strong, believable, and likable character of Bill Gastner. You feel as if this is one person who could be real and who each of us would want as a friend, especially if it involved a crime or the law. Also, the story is well planned and keeps you wondering and being interested until the last page. This is one novel that I was trying to constantly think about how this author could logically connect the events and resolve the problems.

RED, GREEN, OR MURDER is part of series called THE POSADAS COUNTY MYSTERIES featuring Bill Gastner and Estelle Reyes-Guzman. This particular novel actually fits in the middle of a long stream of investigations featuring these two. This series is actually a combination of a present-day western coupled with a mystery or two. Being that I have not read this series, I was enthralled with the characterization and impressed with how this particular book works as either a stand alone or as part of the series. To reacquaint characters or to introduce ones to a reader, who has not read the other books, proves that Steven Havill is a masterful writer who I plan to know better soon. Personally, I plan to read the other books in his series.

Steven Havill resides in New Mexico. He has worked as a teacher and recently studied gunsmithing.

I look forward to reading any book written by Steven Havill. This is truly a masterful storyteller who can weave a complex story into a logical and well-written tale.

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