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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.

Albuquerque Turkey, The
By John Vorhaus. Crown. 255 pp. This is a note for the Albuquerque Turkey.. $23.00.
Grifters Radar and Allie leave L.A. for Santa Fe after their big con nets them a million dollars. Allie is determined to go straight, get a degree in something, and live a normal life. Radar finally agrees but before they can even begin on this new life plan Radar’s dad Woody shows up in drag. Woody is a world class con artist on the run and desperate for help. Radar figures they can make just one more big sting and then go straight! Smoothly written, this page-turner has some good laughs, some over-the-top characters, a dog named Boy and the multiple twisting plot to make any airplane ride fly by (excuse the pun). []

Always Messing with Them Boys
By Jessica Lopez. West End Press. 93 pp. $13.95.
Top Pick
"Always Messing With Them Boys" is about love and lust, life and loss, motherhood and pain, and it won’t be read down at the nunnery. “Mama is a boozehound / she’ll spit poetry / and bourbon fire from her throat” (p. 3) --- she’s young, brash and a bit wicked. Lopez throws lightning bolts of words, page after page, speaking as one for many. My own favorites are “Cool Woman Albuquerque” and “My Mama Is a Poet.” In a world of black-and-white poetry, Lopez is pure neon. She is also a competitive Slam poet and can be seen slamming on YouTube. []

Amadito and the Hero Children: Amadito y los Ninos Heroes
By Enrique Lamadrid. University of New Mexico Press. 60 pp. $19.95.
Top Pick
This bilingual historical story starts with nine-year-old Amadito, who lives in New Mexico in 1918 during the deadly Spanish influenza epidemic, La Influenza Española. Amadito's mother vaccinates her younger children, using scabs gathered from the older children’s smallpox vaccinations. She then tells her children the story of their great-grandmother, who traveled around New Mexico with a group of children - Los Niños Heroes- to share their vaccinations against smallpox, the same way Amadito’s mother vaccinated her children. This is an excellent book for school-aged readers, based on actual events and information about illness, death and survival in the 1800s and early 1900s. []

Assumption: A Novel
By Percival Everett. Graywolf Press. 272 pp. $15.00.
Labeled a novel by the publisher, Everett’s latest is in fact a novella and two long short stories, all three pieces concerning northern New Mexico sheriff’s deputy Ogden Walker. Smoothly written, these “police procedurals” will satisfy even sophisticated mystery readers with their nuanced approach to character development and logical storytelling. Terrific leisure reading!

Astonishing Light: Conversations I Never had with Patrociño Barela
By E.A. Mares. University of New Mexico Press. 66 pp. $22.95.
Barela, who died nearly 50 years ago, is still renowned for the primitive (he was self-taught) wood carvings he produced throughout the latter half of his life while living in Taos. His glowing brown figures remind this reviewer somewhat of the sculptures of Lithuanian stone-carver Jacques Lipchitz, a contemporary of Barela, born earlier but who lived longer. Mares’ admiring conversations are amusing, personal and sometimes lighthearted. And between the two there are enough words and phrases in Spanish to cause us non-native speakers to search out our Spanish/English dictionaries. []

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