Thursday, July 16, 2009

43. - High Lonesome Road - Betsy Thornton

Chloe Newcombe #2 Dudley (Bisbee), Arizona
paper $5.99
250 pgs
Rating: 4
Adult murder mystery

These Bisbee, AZ based mysteries are easy to gobble up. This one wasn't quite as intriguing as the first, The Cowboy Rides Away, but it had very interesting characters, and the description of the parched, lonely desert and stretches of road in southeastern Arizona are well-written but not overdone.

It was a bit disappointing that almost all of the characters in this novel are new. There was some nice wrapping-up of some loose ends from the first novel, and if you hadn't read it you'd probably wonder what was going on. There are some loose ends left here, too, and I'll bet they get referred to in the third in the series, Ghost Towns, which was published just a year later. Can't wait to find out!

Twenty years previously, Chloe had spent the summer with her brother James (now dead) in Venice, California. His close friend, Erica Hill, had lived upstairs, and they had gotten to know each other a bit as the summer progressed. Now Chloe discovers that Erica has been living right here in Dudley for the past eighteen years, and she has a 16 year-old son, Troy. But then Erica gets murdered while driving the county bookmobile, and the mystery begins. We meet some interesing characters: Stuart, the defense lawyer, who asks Chloe out and they begin an arms-length friendship; Dot Stone, retired, no-nonsense third grade teacher; Larry and Nelson, the handsome gay couple who live up the street from Erica; Sally Smith, Erica's library coworker, who is a little nuts;, Troy, the innocent son.......and on and on.

Kyle Bartlett, the sheriff's investigator from the first book and who Chloe still pines for, has disappeared up north somewhere and is replaced by Ed Masters, who Chloe considers....well, not quite competent. Chloe asks her own questions, puts two and two together (coming up with four and a half), and we figure out what happened as she does.

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