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Kirkus ReviewsMore trouble has winged into New Mexico's Posadas County, this time on the heels of rolling stone Wesley Crocker, whom Undersheriff Bill Gastner gives a lift into town when he meets him on the road wheeling his crippled bicycle. But a flat tire is the least of Crocker's problems. After bedding down for the night under the stars on the school athletic field, he's in the lockup by morning for questioning about the death of shoplifting teenager Maria Elena Ibarra, whose body was dumped less than a hundred yards from his bedroll—all, he mildly insists, without disturbing him. And even though the autopsy reveals that Maria had accidentally choked to death on a slice of pizza, Crocker's troubles—and Bill's—are far from over. Maria's shiftless uncle knocks back a snootful of sherry fortified with enough extra alcohol to send him to sleep for good; a grisly road accident will leave another student dead; and Crocker will be turned loose in time to get into more trouble himself. What's behind this rash of untimely deaths, and what does it all have to do with the harmless drifter?
Underneath the low-key, high-casualty plot, Havill's fifth (Before She Dies, p. 176, etc.) quietly continues a project virtually unique in detective fiction: anchoring his tales of crime and punishment as closely as possible in the rhythms of small-town friends, routines, and calamities.