I just love Bill Gastner
This series actually extends over the careers of two law officers who hold a position called Undersheriff in the fictional Posadas County, New Mexico. An undersheriff is the person right below the elected position of Sheriff and is appointed by the Sheriff. Generally, the Undersheriff would be the expert in the law that is there to advise the elected Sheriff. The first half of the series covers Undersheriff Bill Gastner, an experienced law officer. Bill would laugh at that at just say that he is old. Bill is sort of grumpy, a little creeky in the knees, moves slowly but makes up for it with a lot of experience and really knowing the people of Posadas County, New Mexico. He is especially good at thinking while eating very spicy burritos at all hours of the day or night.
The second half of the series covers the career of Undersheriff Estelle Guzman. She is quite talented and, for me, simply not as interesting as Bill. She is admirable and I would hire her to be my Undersheriff because she really knows what she is doing but...she is really boring.
Unfortunately, this book is Bill Gastner's last hurrah as a main character. In this story Bill is no longer the Undersheriff. Instead, he is a state livestock inspector. But, he still gets caught up in the events of the book. In it, everything that makes you love Bill is on display - his knowledge and connections, his bravery and his late night ruminating. His beloved burritos are even part of a mystery.
There are actually two mysteries in this story. One involves the mysterious death of an old friend of Bill. They shared a love of spicy burritos and Bill's elderly friend was too frail to go out to the restaurant for lunch. But, the restaurant was glad to deliver burritos to a couple of long-time customers.
Bill had to cancel due to an incident while he was attending to his duties as livestock inspector. Sadly, his friend died while eating that meal. But, there are strange signs that lead Bill and Undersheriff Estelle Guzman to suspect that this was no accident.
Meanwhile, while Bill is helping with the family of his friend, the cattle that he just inspected are all over the highway and no one can find the young ranch hand that delivered them or the truck and trailer. Did he run off or was he carjacked? And, is there a connection between Bill's deceased friend and the rancher with the missing truck and trailer?
Neither of these mysteries is earth-shaking but I loved this story because I just love Bill Gastner.
The book can be found on Amazon here:
Red, Green, or Murder
I rate this novel 5 stars out of 5.
"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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