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Old Gray Wolf: The
By James Doss. Minotaur. 344 pp. $25.99.

A new Charlie Moon mystery! ‘Nuff said. But this one, set in Ute country, is the 17th and final book in the popular series, published shortly after the author died.
On Top of Spoon Mountain
By John Nichols. University of New Mexico Press. 232 pp. $24.95.
As is frequently true in Nichols’ novels ("The Milagro Beanfield War" and ten others) the first-person narrative reminds us that many of the incidents and attitudes “reported” here probably happened to the author, not just the fictional narrator. This narrator, approaching 65 and a physical wreck, wants to climb Spoon Mountain (13,000 feet) one last time with his two grown children, for old-times sake. Filled with bawdy humor, agony, pathos and bathos, this novel will delight Nichols’ fans, most of whom will probably notice that the basic message has changed from “we must fight for equality” to “if we don’t save the environment, equality won’t matter at all!” The incipit reads “Rewind history, please. I want another chance.” []
In this latest novel John Nichols spins a story around a writer who wants to reclimb a tall, rugged mountain on his 65th birthday to see if he still has what it takes. The characters include a smart-mouth daughter, reticent son, looking-for-better girlfriend and her still jealous ex-, and a fading-author father whose best seldom seems good enough. The plot is poignant but the dialogue ripples with fun as idealism meets reality. There’s something here for any reader. []

One Perfect Shot
By Steven F. Havill. Poisoned Pen Press. 331 pp. $14.95.
Havill’s series about the fictional Posadas County, New Mexico, sheriff’s department is now nearing 20 titles and through them all the author’s deft control of procedure (and especially firearms identification) never wavers. In "One Perfect Shot" Havill takes us back nearly 30 years, relating how Estelle Reyes, then a nineteen-year-old, came to work for Undersheriff Bill Gastner. Solid procedural plotting and interesting characters make this a fine reading experience for mystery fans. []

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