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Bill Gastner is the undersheriff of fictional Posadas County, New Mexico. The five foot eight inch tall, 210 pound Septuagenarian has been with the department for twenty years. A widow with four grown children who flew the coop years ago, Gastner spends most of his time on the job.
The tiny town of Posadas was in the midst of celebrating the fourth of July when a carload of teens were killed in a tragic accident. Detective Estelle Reyes and Gastner were actively involved at the scene. When a kilo of cocaine was found under the driverís seat, the investigation shifted from an accident to a group of kids possibly high on drugs. The burning question was where did they get the cocaine.
When a young undercover cop is murdered and local citizens begin brandishing guns, Gastner risks his health by working hours on end, chain smoking, and pushing past the pain that he suspects could end his life in his effort to get to the truth. Working closely with Reyes and members of his department, Gastner goes above and beyond the call of duty in a harrowing attempt to stop a killer who nearly does him in.
Heartshot (A Posadas County Mystery) is the first in the series written by Steven F. Havill. Since then, Havill has written seven more Bill Gastner books between 1991 and 2001; then eight more books with Estelle Reyes as the Undersheriff from 2002 to 2012.
Havill has created a captivating double series that spans over twenty years utilizing many of the same characters. The continuity is part of the charm of these stories set in the hills of New Mexico.
Gastnerís struggles to remain relevant as a policeman as he ages while he also struggles with his health will endear him to readers. His working relationship with the much younger and very thorough Reyes is a pleasure to read. When thinking about Gastner, the word curmudgeon quickly comes to mind. Havill has created a compelling character that holds the story together.
He often clashes with his boss, Sheriff Holman, a former used car salesman, and he has nicknames for several of the staff members in the department. His dedication and love of his county comes across due to Havillís ability to write descriptive narrative.
Iíve already purchased the second book in the series and am looking forward to reading more about the addicting duo of Gastner and Reyes. Iíve learned that it is wise to read a series like this in order of publication as the books often continue on from where the previous left off.
As there are a total of sixteen books in the series, it may take me a while but I think itís going to be worth it. If you are looking for a ďnewĒ series of mysteries, check out the Posadas County mystery series available on Amazon.com.
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