Lawyer Charles Stone of the Boston law office of McGraw, Stone and Tucker has an unusual profession. He is often called in by Franklin Life Insurance for special assignments to investigate insurance frauds for the company. For instance, he just returned from Northern Ireland regarding a fraudulent arms deal.
This time he is asked to look into the $500,000 policy taken out by U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jack Spates, recently brutally murdered while on night duty along the Mexican-American border. The problem is his beneficiary is Senorita Consuelo de V. Franklin Life wants more information about the Mexican woman before paying out such a large sum.
As Stone prepares for the trip to Arizona, he decides to take his Chevrolet Blazer on a scenic road trip along the way affording him the opportunity to take in a few sites on his travel wish list.
When he finally arrives in Douglas, Arizona to begin his investigation, he conveniently meets up with Ms. De V herself. She works for the Sierra Madre Mining Company, and she and her boss, Eduardo Silva will play a large part in the rest of the mystery.
During their introductory meeting, he is handed a letter sent by Franklin Life acknowledging his credentials and the danger he is in because of the murder, and the drugs and arms smuggling involved in the case. Silva pledges to help Stone get to the bottom of the murder.
Charles Stone, and the reader, is soon introduced to two other important players in this investigation. The first is Manual Cabrera, a long-time friend of Senor Silva and Consuelo de V, who warns Stone of the grave danger he is in and offers his assistance.
Home office has also instructed him to get in touch with Chief Patrol Agent Sandra Collins of the United States Border Patrol. She heads the Tucson sector covering 262 miles of border with 2900 agents working eight sections. She was also a special friend of Agent Spates and mourns his death.
During his investigation, Stone finds out this assignment isn’t the “piece of cake” he thought – especially when he finds his own life on the line.
Sentimental Me by Charles L. Fields is a fast-paced mystery with many side-trips along the way. The novel’s subtitle as a travel mystery suspense is well taken as Fields takes advantage of the travel portion of the story. In fact, Stone doesn’t arrive in Douglas until the beginning of the third chapter. The first two chapters cover his trip to Arizona.
Fields has written an interesting and enjoyable look at a dangerous lifestyle most of us would never expect to encounter. Having lived in Tucson for a year and being very familiar with the border problems, reading about the behind-the-scenes activity involving illegals, arms, and drugs was of special interest to me and showed me another view of the growing problem.
Although the wording sometimes seemed stilted, and the side journeys distracting, the overall story is fascinating and well worth the read. The epilogue informs us that Fields is working on another Charles Stone novel titled Canyons of the Soul. This reader will certainly welcome the opportunity to read more about this fascinating new character.
A special thank you goes to Charles L. Fields and Outskirts Press for providing a complimentary copy of Sentimental Me for review. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, it is available at Amazon.com.