Southwest Books of the Year
Browsing Complete List - K :
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.
- Killer is Dying, The: A Novel
- By James Sallis. Walker Publishing Company. 232 pp. $24.00.
- Los Angeles has Raymond Chandler. San Francisco has Dashell Hammett. And now Phoenix has James Sallis. In this compelling novel, the author of "Drive" probes in supple language the minds of a trio of outsiders - a dying hit man, a battered cop, and an abandoned youngster. As the characters circle one another in the wake of a botched assassination, Sallis takes readers on a tour of the twenty-first-century urban psyche fueled by loneliness and isolation. More than just a satisfying mystery, this is great literature. [ ]
- Sallis has authored nearly 30 books, about half of them novels. His sizzling, non-stop "Drive" was recently turned into a highly-praised movie. In this latest, set in Phoenix, three lives which seem fated to meet in some disaster find their destinies in other ways. The killer-for-hire of the title has cancer. He has one last job to do, but someone beats him to it, and he finds himself compelled to find out who and why. Meanwhile, the wife of one of the two detectives assigned to the case is also dying of cancer. A third story line introduces a young man whom we may think will later become a killer-for-hire. Terrific writing that will capture the imagination of any mystery fan. [ ]
- Killing Shot, The
- By Johnny Boggs. Pinnacle Books. 312 pp. $5.99.
- Marshal Reilly McGivern is in serious trouble from beginning to end in this thrilling page-turner set in 1890s Southeast Arizona Territory. Rescued by notorious Bloody Jim Pardo from being locked up in his own prison wagon and left to die in desert heat, McGivern hopes to save himself, a young mother, and 10 year old daughter, by pretending he also is an outlaw. Strong characterization, especially of the bad guys, non-stop action, and realistic depiction of the desert terrain in summer add to the excellence of this western. My favorite character was the uncontrollable, courageous, foul-mouthed ten year old Blanche, who has the final say in the book. [ ]
- Kissing Arizona
- By Elizabeth Gunn. Severn House Publishers. 208 pp. $28.95.
- Readers who enjoyed Gunn’s earlier mysteries involving Tucson homicide detective Sarah Burke will surely enjoy this one. Multiple story lines involve large scale drug smuggling and constant/recurring efforts by Mexican nationals to enter the U.S. and find work and safety; one young woman even gives the book its title! Meantime, Sarah and her longtime male friend, as well as her niece and mother, find a way to accommodate hectic schedules, a minor stroke, and various troubles that life throws at them. Solid page-turner. [ ]
- Kit Carson: The Life of an American Border Man
- By David Remley. University of Oklahoma Press. 320 pp. Index. $24.95.
- Remley steers a steady course through troubled waters in this interpretive biography of the legendary, and controversial, guide, soldier, and Indian agent. When viewed within the context of his time and culture, Remley concludes, Carson emerges as “a common man of mind and feeling, a human being of his day and place, misrepresented in his own time as a great white hero, and in ours as another damned killer.” Tightly argued, clearly written and backed by an impressive bibliography, this volume in the University of Oklahoma’s western biographies series offers a balanced appraisal for scholars and general readers, alike. [ ]
- This biography of Kit Carson maintains a balanced view between the 19th Century adulation of an American superhero and the more recent revisionist view of Carson as an inhumane slaughterer of Native Americans. Kit wore many hats, traveled many places in the not-yet US in his 40 year career, but he was always guided by principles of loyalty, integrity, and duty. The author credits his keen sense of self-preservation to his border country background (Scots-Irish), but points out that as Carson matured, he understood the importance of compromise as opposed to bloodshed. This book seems unbiased, easily understood, and while well documented, not overly academic. [ ]