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Clicking on a book cover will search for the book in the catalog. If it is not part of our collection, you may request it by clicking on the Can't Find It link. An icon indicates if the book is chosen by a panelist as one of the year's best.

Calexico! True Lives of the Borderlands
By Peter Laufer. University of Arizona Press. 211 pp. $19.95.

Peter Laufer examines issues inherent in life on the Mexican-United States border, as he travels through Calexico.
Canyon Crossing: Experiencing Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim
By Seth Muller. Grand Canyon Association. 259 pp. Index. $16.95.
Ever wonder what it is like to hike to Grand Canyon’s Phantom Ranch? Then shoulder Muller’s book as you would a backpack and make the trek with him. Along the way you’ll meet fellow hikers and park rangers, hear canyon stories, and feel the trail under your feet. A fun read for first-time hikers as much as trail-wise veterans. []

Captain John R. Hughes: Lone Star Ranger
By Chuck Parsons. University of North Texas Press. 400 pp. Index. $29.95.
Parsons has combed through a mountain of manuscript and published sources to produce this meticulously detailed account of Hughes' nearly three-decade career, mostly in far West Texas, that earned him legendary status as one of the "four great Texas Ranger captains." Remarkably, Hughes survived repeated brushes with a colorful and dangerous assortment of outlaws and border bandits to die, apparently by his own hand, at age ninety-two, in 1947. An excellent assortment of rare photographs bring to life Hughes and his world. []

Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars
By Sylvia Longmire. Palgrave Macmillan. 242 pp. Index. $26.00.

Former senior intelligence analyst Sylvia Longmire explores the reasons behind the increasing threat to the United States posed by the Mexican drug cartels.
Case of the Indian Trader, The: Billy Malone and the National Park Service Investigation at Hubbell Trading Post
By Paul Berkowitz. University of New Mexico Press. 376 pp. Index. $34.95.
Berkowitz, a former criminal investigator and self-described "certified troublemaker," explains how he uncovered collusion and wrongdoing in National Park Service and Western National Parks Association efforts in the mid-2000s to bring criminal charges against a veteran Indian trader on the Navajo reservation. We are all heroes in our own stories, and Berkowitz pulls no punches in his crusade against the abuses he believes are rife in one of America's most respected federal agencies. In the process, he paints a revealing portrait of a whistleblower fighting against a system that tends toward shades of grey where Berkowitz sees only black and white. []
It is hard to believe that the National Park Service conducted a criminal investigation against Billy Malone, beloved and trusted Navajo Trader who was fired for what was considered his eccentric business practices running the historic Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in Ganado, Arizona. After two years on what appeared to be a sloppy investigation, Paul Berkowitz, Criminal Investigator for the NPS tells his side of the story and writes about evidence of dirty politics and incompetence.The story is not yet finished. []

Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendetta: A Midnight Louie Mystery
By Carole Nelson Douglas. Forge. 380 pp. $24.99.
Readers of light mystery fiction may not realize that this is Midnight Louie’s 24th outing (plus a volume of shorter pieces)! Louie’s “helper” is the merely human PR person Temple Barr whose job, often, is to find killers and other bad guys so they won’t ruin the rep of her casino. Wisecracks, bad puns (are there any other kind?) and a fast paced storyline will make that lazy weekend zip past, just like that little metal ball on the roulette wheel.
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Chasing the Sun
By Kaki Warner. Berkley Trade. 404 pp. $15.00.
This last volume in the Blood Rose Trilogy, romantic novels about the Wilkins family, who ranch in New Mexico, opens in 1873. Youngest son Jack has left the ranch to travel the world, and unbeknownst to him has fathered a daughter in San Francisco. The mother, destitute, but with an offer to train as an opera star, goes to New Mexico to seek help from the Wilkins family. Jack shows up and love blossoms against a backdrop of the beauty and challenges of ranch life and family relationships. The characters are well developed and the love of the land comes through. Although this is not my favorite genre, romance fans will enjoy this book. []

Cheery: The True Adventures of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog
By Elizabeth W. Davidson. Five Star Publications. 39 pp. $15.95.
Top Pick
Cheery is a Chiricahua Leopard Frog living in a pond in the Arizona mountains. His species is threatened with extinction by crayfish, bullfrogs and disease and many of his friends don’t survive. Luckily, Cheery is rescued by 'zoo people' who take him to a tank full of other leopard frogs and care for him until he can be taken back to a pond with his friends and new tadpoles. This is an informative short story for early grade readers. I felt happy and relieved that the 'zoo people' are watching out for the best interests of this species, so leopard frogs can continue propagating. []

Choke Hold
By Christina Faust. Hard Case Crime. 251 pp. $19.95.

When her former friend and porn co-star is murdered, Angel Dare travels the deserts of Arizona, Mexico and Nevada in search of her friend’s son.
Cinema Southwest: An Illustrated Guide to the Movies and Their Locations
By John A. Murray. Canyonlands Natural History Association. 195 pp. Index. $22.95.
What makes this guide special is its organization by location, so western movie buffs can see the areas where favorite films were made. This book also inspires one to watch classic westerns. Unfortunately this second edition of the 2000 publication has added only 30 pages of new films done in the interim, again organized by location but as an added section at the end rather than integrated with the selections from the earlier edition. Most of the appendices have not been changed, although some lists, notably the contact information for film contacts, have been updated. This is a fascinating reference book, but if you have the first edition you may not need the new one. []

Coffin Man: A Charlie Moon Mystery
By James Doss. Minotaur Books. 340 pp. $25.99.
Charlie’s Aunt Daisy has lost her ability to see into the world-after-death and she’s fit to be tied! But Charlie(remember, he’s now a rancher but often roped into helping the sheriff) has more personal mysteries to solve, including the disappearance of Wanda Naranjo’s pregnant daughter. Doss writes like an old, old friend telling us a story, with plenty of asides to make sure we understand what’s going on. Smoothly written. []
Even though this is supposed to be a spoof, I found it annoying. What is funny about a pregnant teenager (whose baby has five possible fathers) being accidentally killed by a dim witted handyman, who buries her in a veteran’s grave, then inadvertently kills his best buddy, the cemetery custodian? Or the pregnant girl’s mother killing her ex-boyfriend and escaping scot-free? The asides by the narrator are irritating and the descriptions often forced. Will the term “Papago-Ute orphan” to describe Charlie’s niece sit play well on the reservation? That aside, I loved the characterizations of ancient shaman Aunt Daisy and Charlie Moon himself. []

Colores de la Vida: Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish
By Cynthia Weill. Cinco Puntos Press. $14.95.
Another Cynthia Weil folk art wood carving picture book. This bilingual book shows 14 basic colors in English and Spanish.
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Cooking the Wild Southwest: Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants
By Carolyn Niethammer. University of Arizona Press. 194 pp. Index. $19.95.
A veteran in the field of producing cookbooks, Niethammer’s latest provides a huge variety of recipes; more than a dozen, for example, from prickly pear plants. She devotes an entire chapter to uses of wild plants as flavorings and another for wild greens. A plus for newcomers to desert cooking is the addition to each section of a discussion of general rules for collecting, preparing and storing plant parts you intend to use. []

Cow Country Cooking: Recipes and Tales from Northern Arizona's Historic Ranches
By Kathy McCraine. Prescott, AZ: Kathy McCraine. 192 pp. Index. $29.99.
Top Pick
Mouth-watering recipes, from appetizers to desserts, are the least of this inspired book. McCraine, a native Arizona rancher, journalist, photographer and cooking aficionado, was motivated to complete this dreamed-of project by Mark Kohler’s offer to paint accompanying watercolors. Interspersed among text about round-ups, branding and cookery are recipes, colored photos, paintings with commentary by Kohler, and humorous country-cooking anecdotes in the sidebars. Appealing art, photography, history, humor, clear and readable text, and author-tested recipes, all add up to a paean to northern Arizona ranch life, past and present. []
This may be the first cookbook I’ve ever read from cover to cover, but its mix of kitchens, horses, cooks and recipes lassoed and hogtied me. I couldn’t get away from it. Authentic recipes, ranging from camp corn to chuck wagon goulash, from eggs Dijon to gingerbread with lemon sauce, can be prepared in a chuck wagon, cow camp, or ranch house. They’re designed to fill up hungry cowhands but tasty enough to delight picky guests. My favorite story was told by a cowboy-cook named Spider Dailey, who one ferociously cold winter had to sleep each night with his sourdough starter to keep it warm so it wouldn’t die. The book features paintings by Mark Kohler and splendid color photos of prepared dishes, cooks, and horses. McCraine and her husband ranch north of Prescott. This book is the real McCoy. []

Cowboy's Guide to Growing Up Right, A
By Slim Randles. Rio Grande Books. 61 pp. $8.95.
He lives in Albuquerque but his mini-essays appear in a syndicated column titled “Home Country” that runs in many newspapers nationwide. Not southwestern per se, his words touch on subjects we can all feel are part of our lives and, like Aesop, each column (there are 15 reprinted here) has a clearly stated moral. For example, one column titled “Good Grooming, the Silent Secret” concludes with this: “Even dirty politicians wash themselves to get votes.” []

Cowgirl and Her Horse, A
By Jean Ekman Adams. Rio Chico. $15.95.
Top Pick
“There are so many things a cowgirl has to do for her horse. It’s hard to keep them all straight.” So opens this sweet picture book about a small pink pig and her horse. A cowgirl has to go grocery shopping for her horse, hose him off in the kiddie pool, clean his room, wash his socks, bring him cupcakes for his birthday…she is an exhausted little pig! But then it’s all worthwhile, when her horse takes her on rides up mountains and down trails to see rainbows. []

Crazy From the Heat: A Chronicle of Twenty Years in the Big Bend
By James Evans. University of Texas Press. 192 pp. $55.00.
Top Pick
Above all, photographer James Evans wanted to avoid the 30 cliché views of Big Bend National Park, and with this book he hit a home run out of the park. His images of a vinegaroon, broad horizons, a mud-covered mother-to-be, boys on a trampoline, and canyon walls are more than exquisite --- they are unique and spirited. Evans describes himself as a portrait photographer who loves to shoot landscapes, and this payoff of living in the Big Bend country for 20 years shows his enormous talent for both. His portraits reflect the countryside and his countryside images are as inviting as portraits. Rebecca Solnit’s fine essay “dirt and light” complements the images. One test of good books requires their images and stories pop-up again at odd moments days or weeks after being read, and this one earns an A+. Crazy from the Heat is at once funny, inspiring, and memorable. []
In a certain mood this reviewer might say, of Evans’s title, that it should be “Crazy like a Fox” as his images zig and zag among subjects and styles and techniques. The range of his photographs is startling; from six young Hispanic males knee deep in water, to a Mexican hognose snake with its long shadow on a stark white background, to a double-foldout of a desert scene that is surely West Texas but could as easily be Arizona. Sprinkle in a few nudes (including one, extremely pregnant, after a mud bath) and some time-lapse shots of night sky and, finally, the adjective that I settle on to describe this collection is stunning! []

Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Texas, The
By Ron Franscell. Globe Pequot Press. 221 pp. Index. $16.95.
It’s true that most of Texas is outside our coverage of the desert Southwest, but it is hard to resist noting a book that devotes an entire chapter to Texas’ (the world’s?) most noted outlaw couple, Bonnie & Clyde! And there is an chapter devoted to West Texas which locates, among others, both Judge Roy Bean’s and Charles Goodnight’s graves. For each of more than 150 sites (graves, where robberies occurred, etc.) Franscell gives us the GPS coordinate so we can “see” it on our computer screen from a satellite even if it is on private land not open to the public. []

Cross Over Water: A Novel
By Richard Yanez. University of Nevada Press. 204 pp. $22.00.
Called “Ruly” as a young man, even by his family, Raul Luis Cruz becomes Rauluis, when college-bound Elena comes into, and goes out of, his life. Capturing perfectly the El Paso setting Yañez gives us a coming-of-age portrait that is tender without being mawkish and clear-eyed without being dust-dry. Not written as a narrative by Raul, still the language is simple and entirely believable, as if he, grocery clerk and barely high school graduate, were telling it himself. []

Crossing Borders: Personal Essays
By Sergio Troncoso. Arte Publico Press. 201 pp. $16.95.
They are not southwestern, per se, but Troncoso’s school years in El Paso form a constant backdrop to these sixteen essays. Always with an eye, or perhaps a mind, tuned to those things which are most real in our lives, his essays, such as “The Father Is in the Details”, speak to us all.
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