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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.

Painted Boy, The
By Charles DeLint. Viking. 431 pp. $18.99.
In this cleverly crafted fantasy, a teenage Chinese American boy with a mysterious dragon painted on his back arrives in a gang-plagued desert town. As the plot builds to a climactic confrontation between good and evil, De Lint deftly weaves together modern story elements and threads of ancient folklore to create a magical world in which a youngster learns important lessons about inner strength and personal responsibility, and where readers are reminded of the spiritual connection between life and landscape. []

Pancho Villa: a Lifetime of Vengeance
By Ben F. Williams, Jr.. Smokin Z Press. 240 pp. Index. $20.00.
The former Douglas mayor combines his talents as a storyteller and historian in this lively account of the Mexican revolutionarly leader whose path frequently intersected the lives of Williams' father and grandfather. Anecdotes include Villa's 1914 visit to Douglas, encounters at the Williams ranch in Sonora, and Villa's famous raid on Columbus, New Mexico. Williams also provides his informed perspective on the whereabouts of Villa's skull. Dozens of rare photographs enhance the value and pleasure of this engaging book. []
Williams, prolific writer on Southern Arizona topics, retells scenes from the life of Villa. His perspective is personal as he recounts his family’s “history” with Villa on their ranch in Sonora and Villa’s visit to Douglas, Arizona, where Williams was once mayor (many years after the visit of course). Known for his storytelling ability as well as his intense research, Williams provides informed speculation on the whereabouts of Villa’s skull, long a matter of mystery since it was discovered missing when his body was moved from one grave-site to another. []

Partners in Crime: a Rafe Buenrostro Mystery
By Rolando Hinojosa. Arte Publico Press. 247 pp. $16.95.
Neither Belken County nor its county-seat, Klail City, exist in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, but in 15 novels Hinojosa has created and peopled those places. Often identified as Hinojosa’s “Klail City Death Trip series”, this volume does not carry that designation but fans will find the characters as lively as ever, and the thoughtful policeman Rafe Buenrostro just as indomitable. []

Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints
By Sam Brower. Bloomsbury USA. 323 pp. Index. $27.00.
The author, a Mormon private investigator, has been investigating the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints for the past seven years. Curious, he followed up on an article in the paper about a Short Creek man who was accusing Warren Jeffs of being like Hitler. What followed was a long-term investigation of Jeffs which convinced the PI that Jeffs was truly a madman, a criminal who not only brainwashed his parishioners but committed pedophilia, rape and incest along with other more serious crimes in a Mafia-like criminal gang. A solidly written shocking expose of the criminal activities of Jeffs, this adds to the body of evidence against a demented man, who has now been sentenced for life. This book is well-written on a timely topic. []
If you don’t know at least some basic things about Jeffs you haven’t been paying attention to the evening news over the past couple of years. Jeffs succeeded his father in the role of “Prophet” of the breakaway Mormon group named in the subtitle and expanded his control over its approximately 10,000 members. He was arrested in 2006 and convicted in Utah for sexual assault on children. This conviction was overturned, but he was extradited to Texas where he was charged with similar crimes and again convicted. He is currently serving a life sentence. Brower, himself a Mormon, lays out his years’ worth of investigation by naming names, dates, incidents, etc. It is probable that other biographies of Jeffs will be published but this is a damning and detailed account. []

Provincial Justice: A Kate Mahoney Mystery
By Gerry Hernbrode. Imago Press. 256 pp. $15.00.
Hernbrode, like her protagonist Mahoney, is a teacher and a former nun, so she knows whereof she writes, though perhaps she has never been directly involved in a murder! Still, she’s a good writer with solid dialog and, as a resident of Tucson, has an excellent feel for the city and its environs. Readers who may be doubtful about information provided in dreams from the dead will, perhaps, have second thoughts. []
Kate Mahoney, ex-nun, widow of a police officer killed on duty, wed now to her responsibilities as principal of an elementary school in an impoverished Tucson neighborhood, dreams her former Mother Provincial orders her to solve murders at her school. In reality, a first grade teacher is imprisoned, accused of murdering the superintendent in his classroom. More murders follow. Kate teams up with a school resource officer (former CIA) to solve the crime. Hernbrode successfully pulls off this bizarre combination of dream sequences, school routines, and page-turning suspense. Especially noteworthy are the insights into the challenges of being a leader of a public school with disadvantaged children. A worthy first novel. []

Pueblo Peoples on the Pajarito Plateau: Archaeology and Efficiency
By David E. Stuart. University of New Mexico Press. 143 pp. $19.95.
In a slender book that is itself an exemplar of efficiency and practicality, Stuart traces some 10,000 years of human habitation in northern New Mexico, elegantly describing how Chaco culture collapsed under the weight of unsustainable growth and was replaced by Pueblo society more attuned to the land and climate. The lessons for modern Southwesterners are obvious. Lay readers will appreciate the engaging literary style that enables Stuart to weave complex concepts into a facile narrative. []
When pioneer archaeologist Adolph Bandelier came to study New Mexico cliff houses in 1880, little had been written about the Pueblo Peoples. Studies since then show that humans have lived in and around Bandelier National Monument for twelve millennia, and they left at least 3,000 sites. David Stuart brings their fascinating history alive with text and photos. Especially interesting to me were his points about their creative and efficient uses of labor and resources. We can learn something from them. []

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