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Trouble at the Red Pueblo (A Spider Latham Mystery) (Volume 4) Paperback – July 10, 2014
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From InD'Tale Magazine:
Spider Latham has a new fan! This scrumptious story by Liz Adair is a marvelously easy to read mystery, seasoned with rich descriptions of the red rock area of Arizona and Utah. The author draws in the reader with uniquely realistic story lines involving existing businesses and landmarks in the area. The characters are complex--so fleshed out and genuine,one would expect to see them firmly ensconced at the Museum, the local diner,or patrolling the area in an orange Yugo with flames painted on it. Readers will love the bantering dialogue between Spider and Laurie, and they'll pull for the Stetson wearing cowboy deputy from Nevada. Well written, well researched, and well done, Ms. Adair!
From Meridian Magazine:
Spider is far from the typical Western literary hero.There's an honesty and realism to him that real westerners will recognize and love. He's not a twenty-something quick-draw, but a man who has raised two sons, loves his wife, and values the land his ancestors settled as early pioneers. He's a deputy sheriff who isn't paid too well and has difficulty figuring out modern electronic gadgets like smart phones. He's kind and compassionate to family, friends, strangers, and animals, but struggles to deal with assumptions and jealousy.
...Spider's wife, Laurie, is a strong woman in manyways. She has a kind, gentle style that draws people to her, but she also has akeen mind and is in many ways as much of a detective as her husband. She's alsoknowledgeable concerning horses and western culture. Other minor characters arestrong, distinct people who greatly enrich the story.
The background for this story is the Utah/Arizona border area between Kanab and Fredonia with its red rocks, high temperatures,and Anasazi ruins and artifacts. Adair does a great job of bringing this setting alive as part of the story, making visualizing the magnificent scenery easy yet a natural part of the story.
The plot moves at a deceptively relaxed pace, drawing the reader in with interesting tidbits and wonderful dialog, until the reader is surprised to discover how quickly the action is moving. The conclusion is satisfying both as a resolution to the mystery, but as it relates back to a couple of other issues introduced early on.
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The writing is, for the most part, outstanding. The editing is excellent. The plot and, especially, the twists that keep the reader's interest - terrific. That, however, only scratches the surface regarding why I enjoyed Trouble at Red Pueblo.
The author built in a couple of extra layers, just as great artists do with the paintings or sculptures. In this story she introduces us to a Palestinian American History teacher whose family name is Mansour. By and large, Adair's character is very believable and very well crafted.
Mostly, I listened to this book in audio during commutes. And, for just $1.99 over and above the Kindle version, I heartily recommend readers exercise that option. The narrator does great.
Length: Print, 367 pages; Audible, 9 hours 49 minutes.
Q - How was this book obtained?
A - I bought the Kindle and the Audible version at Amazon.
Q - Is this a book that I can read without having to read others first?
A – Yes. Neither of the other three Spider Latham mysteries are available in Kindle or in Audible, unfortunately.
Q - Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures?
A – No.
Q - Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?
A – This is a terrific leisure read.
Q - What sort of language does this writer use to amplify the points made?
A – Plain English. No foul language.
Q - What age group is this suitable for?
A - Young Adult to senior citizen. If this were a film it would be suitable for all ages, rated G. I expect Hallmark Channel to produce it someday.
Q - My biggest pleasure or disappointment?
A - No disappointments here, but there was just a wee bit more unreal romance and Latham was just a bit too good.
Other than the story, there is a bonus download, an afterword discussion of book club questions and a discussion about Kane County. Had I read this book last Fall, I'd have looked her up last while passing through last Christmas.
I’ve included a small excerpt below, so readers can peruse the style of presentation utilized by the author.
Laurie spread butter on a piece of bread. “Well, yeah. It’s very intuitive. A three-year-old could figure it out.”
"Huh.” Spider picked up his fork and stabbed at a piece of lettuce. "So, did you enjoy the day?”
"I did. It blew away a lot of cobwebs for me.”
They took a hiatus from talk and dedicated the time to their salads. When Spider was finished, he pushed his plate away and said, “I have to go to Mesquite tomorrow. Will you come with me?”
"Sure, but what’s in Mesquite?”
"It’s something I found in the files I brought home. First let me tell you how I got them.” He went on to tell Laurie about Leona Rippley and her struggling little business. He explained how she helped him out and what the files revealed. He told her about the visit to Annie and Frank Defrain and then about his visit to Austin Lee.
"No!” Laurie said, eyes wide. “You didn’t go visit him!”
"Yeah, I did. There he was, big as life, living in the house he had stolen away from the Defrains.” “What did he say?”
"After I told him I knew what he’d done, he told me not to go hanging around in any dark alleys.”
“Did he really say that?”
"Yeah. And I can tell you something else. He is...
Excerpt taken from pp 149-150 of Trouble at the Red Pueblo by Liz Adair.
Enjoyed the story and will read more Spider Latham stories in the future.
Four stars out of five.
Comments regarding your opinion of this book or of my review, whether favorable or unfavorable, are always welcome. If you buy the book based on my review and become disappointed, especially, I do want to know that and I want to understand how I can improve as a book reviewer. Just please be polite.
Spider Latham and his wife, Laurie, have struggled to stay afloat through the economic downturn. They've had to sell their cattle and horses, but still have the ranch that has been in his family for generations. As the story begins, Spider is working as as a deputy sheriff in an Arizona county that has also been going through cutbacks and furloughs, and he moonlights to help pay the bills. When a man he's worked for before contacts him about a job that involves a helping out a museum in Utah, he calls his boss, loads up his old pickup, and he and Laurie head north, beginning a journey that will change their lives forever.