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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HEARTSHOT (Bill Gastner #1) (Posadas County Mysteries #1) by Steven F. Havill

Originally published in 1991.

Bill Gastner is the cantankerous, ornery old Undersheriff of Posadas County. An undersheriff is the person right below the elected position of Sheriff and is appointed by the Sheriff. In the case of fictional Posadas County, the Sheriff is a former used car salesman who is a heck of a businessman but does not know much about law enforcement. So, Bill is literally the old hand that knows his way around the law and the county. Also, he is afraid that the Sheriff might drop him because he's in his sixties and generally considered to be an old grump.

Gastner is a widower and an insomniac who will work 20 hours a day if he can. Why not? His kids are grown up and out of the house, he has no love life and he prefers his own company to just about anyone else's.
File:Cabinetetc 011.jpg
A Southern New Mexico Landscape. Photo by NMTrey.

One night while out on one of his volunteer patrols he listens to radio talk about a car filled with teenagers. A police officer was going to pull them over for speeding but the driver just gives it the gas and tries to flee. But, the car flies off of the road and kills everyone inside. While sorting through the wreckage, a large package of drugs is found inside.

The Sheriff's Department cannot figure out if this is some sort of a fluke, if one of the kids was trafficking in drugs or if there's something else going on. A deputy from another county with a very young face is brought in to pose as Gastner's juvenile delinquent grandson and soon things go downhill very fast and Gastner is struggling with both a deadly health problem and a murderer...

This is the fourth book that I have read in this series and I have to admit that I really just love the series. The mysteries are just so-so (I figured this one out about halfway through) but the character development is unbelievably strong. It feels like Gastner is a real person and for a few hours the reader gets to ride along with him and experience a different life.

I highly recommend this series.

5 stars out of 5.
Reviewed on November 26, 2014

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