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An Arizona Borderlands Mystery
by Carl and Jane Bock
$3.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback
In 1540, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led an expeditionary force from Mexico into what is now the American Southwest. His journey provides the backdrop for this contemporary mystery novel. Deputy Sheriff Calvin Creede mostly works alone in one corner of Arizona’s smallest county. His job has been a simple one until the day a flash flood exposes the rusted remains of an old pickup. A body in the truck turns out to be the long-lost son of a prominent ranching family, and forensic evidence shows it was murder. Resolution of the case sheds fictional yet plausible light on a southwestern mystery that has been around for nearly five centuries.
Booktalk: Retired CU biology professors, Jane & Carl Bock, discuss “Coronado’s Trail,” a debut mystery
I enjoyed this book very much. It had strong characters and a well developed sense of place. The authors are scientists, and their expertise is apparent on nearly every page. But they never become bogged down in details. They keep the narrative moving with clear and precise language and effective dialogue. Sheriff Creede is a cool-headed, trust worthy narrator. Coronado’s Trail follows the conventions of a mystery novel with a unique, well-researched backdrop. My one comment would be that it follows those conventions a bit too closely. Creede is a reliable narrator- and a good detective-but he is never that surprising. On another note, there are also many typos in the book that should be addressed in future printings.
Honorable Mention. 2017 NFPW At-Large Professional Communications contest.