Monday, July 22, 2013


Steven F. Havill
Poisoned Pen Press
Scottsdale, Arizona
October 2013
Trade paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0070-0
$ 14.95
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0069-4
$ 24.95
250 pages
When you retire, you plan to rest and enjoy life at a quieter, safer, pace. Isn't that the way it is for all of us?
For former Sheriff William K. Gastner. that was his plan. For many of his sleepless nights, he enjoys watching the night sky up on a mesa away from all lights and people in the desert of New Mexico. So when he sees distant headlights with small bursts of light, instantly his suspicions are aroused. Why is anyone out in the desert at this time of night when everyone else is at their home, sound asleep?
A longtime friend, Miles Waddell has plans for this mesa and plans to put his money into his dreams of an astronomy-themed amusement park complete with radio telescopes, a luxury hotel, a five-star restaurant, theater, and even a locomotive to transport people. Who could be against this endeavor?
Apparently someone is not looking forward to this new development and cuts down six utility poles that hold the power lines for this new dream. Unfortunately, one of the terrorists is instantly killed when one of the poles falls on him. Quickly Gastner concludes that this was not a one-person plot but someone drove away in a vehicle. Also this someone also shot and killed a deputy who had attempted to halt his escape.
Obviously, the law enforcement officers are scattered over a wide area and appreciative of the help from their former boss. With Gastner's attraction for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, he comes across a young officer in an awkward situation. She had just pulled over an RV and now the owner is pointing a shot gun at her. The former sheriff's quick responses save the day again.
That's way too much excitement for the former sheriff who is looking forward to the return of his thirteen-year-old godson. Francisco Guzman is a music prodigy who is returning home to play a special concert with a surprise. Hasn't there been enough excitement already?
NightZone is a fast-paced believable story focusing on an aging retiree who can't completely leave his old life in law enforcement. The characters are believable and flawed while still be likable. The action is non-stop and realistic with the crime overtaking the priorities of life. Also the idea of fulfilling personal dreams at any age is refreshing.
Steven F. Havill is an author by night while continuing his day job in New Mexico while during the day, he is a high school biology and English teacher. Previously, Mr. Havill has written novels about America's West, the Bill Gastner series published in the 1990s, the Posadas County mystery series featuring Undersheriff Estella Reyes-Guzman, and the Dr. Thomas Parks novels. This particular novel is considered to be in the Posados series but really feature Bill Gastner.
As usual, Steven F. Havill has written an enthralling mystery that keeps the reading wondering up to the last page.

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