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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.

A Bailar! / Let's Dance!
By Judith Ortiz Cofer. Pinata Books. $16.95.
Judith Ortiz Cofer's newest bilingual children's book is published by Pinata Books, an imprint of Arte Publico Press from the University of Houston.
The premise seemed inviting at first but as the story went on I grew tired of the caricaturized illustrations.
I also expected the text to be fully bilingual and it was not. Spanish phrases were thrown into the text but the story itself was not translated into Spanish. []

Alicia's Fruity Drinks / Las Aguas Frescas De Alicia
By Laura Lacamara, Lupe Ruiz-Flores. Pinata Books. $19.95.
A brief bilingual picture book about the value of drinking fruit drinks, aguas frescas, instead of soda. When Alicia's soccer team member develops diabetes,
Alicia's mother decides to make natural fruit drinks to serve the girls instead of sodas. Everyone loves the new drinks which the team decides to call 'Alicia's Fruity Drinks'. []

Apricot Year, An
By Martha Egan. Papalote Press. 285 pp. $25.95.
When Luli, at the beginning of a month to do nothing but paint in Santa Fe, is told by her daughter of her abusive husband’s affair with a bimbo back in Green Bay, it seems like the end. In truth it is the beginning. Egan’s cast of wonderfully off-beat men and women show us, in their lives, how to learn from each other and how community can let us survive the tragedies that life sometimes throws our way. Santa Feans, I believe, will likely see people they know in the characters Egan creates and connects. []
An apricot year comes infrequently to Santa Fe but when it does the crop is perfect. Luli is gifted a painting trip to Santa Fe from Green Bay by her abusive husband, who she learns, is having an affair. Meanwhile Luli meets interesting neighbors, learns to support herself, gains self-confidence, and through unlikely circumstances, meets another man. Although the plot may seem trite, the book is well written, the characters original, fully developed and believable, subplots creatively explored, and best of all, it’s almost like being in Santa Fe. []

Arizona Ambush
By J.A. Johnstone, William W. Johnstone. Pinnacle Books. 318 pp. $6.99.
When Matt Bodine is wounded in an ambush in the Four Corners area, probably Arizona, his blood brother Sam Two Wolves gets him settled with Navajos then sets out for revenge. This page-turner is at least the twelfth mass-market paperback western by the Johnstone team; they must be doing something right. []

Ballad of Gutless Ditch, The
By Katie Lee. Katydid Books and Music. 84 pp. $75.00.

In blank verse, but with plenty of variations, Lee tells of love and passion (they are not the same) in 19th century Arizona.
By Claire Vaye Watkins. Riverhead. 287 pp. $25.95.
These stories, ten of them, set in Nevada, have the impact of a hard punch to the stomach as Watkins’ characters seem to wander aimlessly, always wanting what they cannot possibly attain. This is terrific story-telling with a clear sense of place and, more importantly, a perfect eye for detail that reveals who we humans are, or at least think we are. []

Billy the Kid and Other Plays
By Rudolfo Anaya. University of Oklahoma Press. 382 pp. $24.95.
Anaya is best known for his many works both in fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. He is also a playwright and his works are performed regularly in New Mexico and throughout the world, according to his biography. In addition to "Billy the Kid," seven other plays are included in this collection. []
These one- and two-act plays will remind readers how good Anaya is with dialog (I’m thinking about his stellar short novel "Bless Me, Ultima"). In the title play here, for example, a cast of more than 30 characters have parts. Their dialog moves the story in two acts with Ash Upson (reputedly the author of the autobiography published by Pat Garrett) sitting in a corner as a dark observer of the action. Anaya’s introduction challenges readers to consider producing, directing, or acting in one of these efforts which, he says, have only been seen in New Mexico. []

Block Captain's Daughter, The
By Demetria Martinez. University of Oklahoma Press. 95 pp. $14.95.
As she has done in previous books such as "Breathing Between the Lines" and "Mother Tongue," Martinez presents individual characters in an Albuquerque setting. They interact in stories that are more vignettes than traditional narrative. For example, Maritza (who feels her English is not good enough) writes letters in English to her unborn baby girl so that she will enter the world better off than her mother. Excellent writing that is deceptively simple! []

Butterfly Moon: Short Stories
By Anita Endrezze. University of Arizona Press. 149 pp. $17.95.

A collection of stories that remind us of the human condition.
Clara and the Curandera / Clara y la curandera
By Monica Brown. Pinata Books. $16.95.
Clara is a grumpy little girl so her Mami says it's time to visit the curandera. The curandera recommends a new course of action for Clara, including giving away her toys, helping neighbors and reading more books. Her grumpiness vanishes and with only one setback Clara becomes a helpful, considerate little girl.

Come in and Cover Me
By Gin Phillips. Riverhead. 342 pp. $26.95.
At an archaeological dig in New Mexico a beautiful woman, haunted by her past, continues to be visited by spirits. As the excavation continues, she feels more and more connected to the ancient past. Over time both the recent past and the prehistoric past seem to converge around her. Smoothly written fiction for any reader with an interest in the timelessness of spirits. []

Country of the Bad Wolfes
By James Blake. Cinco Puntos Press. 456 pp. $16.95.
This episodic account of two sets of twins born in the same family but more than a generation apart in time, is Blake at his best. Duels, domestic intrigues, political and commercial shenanigans all combine with love and life and death to create escapist reading pleasure with some Texas and Rio Grande flavor.

Cowboy Christmas
By Rob Sanders. Golden Books. $10.99.
Top Pick
Christmas is coming to the desert but cowboys Dwight, Darryl and Dub are disheartened, wondering if Santy Claus will find them out on the range. Cookie tries to cheer the boys up by encouraging them to create a Christmas tree from a saguaro, to make their own cookies (which burn to a crisp in the frying pan), and to dress up the cows in antlers and bandanas to make them look like reindeer. None of this works very well. “Another day, another cow,” grumbles Darryl on Christmas morning as he and the boys head off to work. But when their day is done they go back to camp and see glowing lights and hear a jolly “HoHoHo!” This story is full of bright, colorful illustrations of an ethnically-diverse set of cowboys with comical looking animals.
Could a New Year’s Eve party be far off?

Cowboy Christmas, A
By Tom Van Dyke. Page Branch Publishing. $18.95.

A young man turned cowboy finds adventure, fortune and romance in the Arizona Territory in this seasonal tale. It is the third revised edition of this title and contains “additions and matters of fact.”
Coyote Under the Table, The/El coyote debajo de la mesa: Folk Tales Told in Spanish and English
By Joe Hayes. Cinco Puntos Press. 133 pp. $12.95.
A collection of ten classic Northern New Mexican folktales collected by the well known story teller, Joe Hayes.
Includes; 'The Tale of the Spotted Cat', 'The Little Snake', 'The Man Who Couldn't Stop Dancing and more retold by Hayes
Published by Cinco Puntos Press, an independent publisher from Texas. []

Dead Man's Tunnel
By Sheldon Russell. Minotaur. 308 pp. $25.99.
Hook Runyan is a railroad detective or “bull.” The time is right after WWII, and he’s been assigned to a northern Arizona scrap yard to solve copper theft, dull work and punishment for past sins. Things liven up, however, when gets to investigate the apparent suicide of an army sergeant assigned to guard a nearby steeply graded railroad tunnel, critical to the transport of war material. Hook (one-armed, former hobo, now rare book collector) is an original, the tough banter among the characters rings true, dog Mixer is lovable if naughty, the humor is effective, the period history and descriptions of the Ash Fork area seem accurate, the characters memorable, and the plot keeps the reader turning pages. Recommended. []

Desert Wind: A Lena Jones Mystery
By Betty Webb. Poisoned Pen Press. 317 pp. $14.95.
Webb continues to create smooth mysteries with complex plots. In Desert Wind, Scottsdale private investigator Lena Jones tackles the intricacies of life in the small northeastern Arizona town of Walapai Flats where her partner, computer whiz Jimmy Sisiwan, has gone to aid his family. It’s no surprise that things are not what they seem, especially when someone takes potshots at her and the local law dismissively advises her that “accidents will happen”. Nicely plotted, this mystery’s roots extend back to the 1950s in southern Utah. []

Diamond in the Desert, A
By Kathryn Fitzmaurice. Viking. 258 pp. $16.99.
Top Pick
Tetsu, an eight year old Japanese-American boy and his family are sent to the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona in 1942. He describes it as “…a place where summer came in March and black scorpions crawled into your shoes at night to hide,” and “…where barbed wire stretched in twisted jumble coils to remind us of what happened on December 7, 1941.” As hundreds of families arrive at the relocation camp, the boys living there clear out a section of desert for a baseball field and start a team, playing other teams from around Arizona. They go on to beat the state champions in a rousing game. Japanese-Americans spent three years at this internment camp in Arizona and were not allowed to go home until World War II ended in 1945. This poignant historical fiction is based on the real life of 80-year-old Tetsu Furukawa. []

By James Sallis. Poisoned Pen Press. 147 pp. $19.95.
Top Pick
If you read and enjoyed Sallis’ "Drive," or saw the movie about his Hollywood stuntman-turned-getaway driver, this latest is definitely for your reading pleasure. It’s an exciting roller-coaster of a ride through the streets of Phoenix (and briefly, Tucson). The setting is graphically presented and the action is non-stop. The man piloting the car and dodging hitmen is known simply as Driver, and you can put an exclamation point after his name! A must-read for thoughtful fans of action fiction. []
The pursuer becomes the pursued as the Hollywood stuntman-turned-getaway driver Sallis introduced in his 2005 novel, Driver, cruises the freeways and city streets of Phoenix, dodging the killers in his rearview mirror. Seven years have passed since a double-cross transformed Driver into judge, jury, and executioner, and now it’s payback time for the mysterious hit men who dog his trail. There is not a wasted word in this taut thriller as Sallis leads readers on another adrenaline-filled ride through the mean streets of urban America, where cynicism is the coin of the realm and lives spin on the toss of a dime. []

By Gary Hart. Fulcrum Publishing. 248 pp. $15.95.
The former US Senator from Colorado (and one–time presidential candidate) gives us an environmental love story built around the once contentious Animas–La Plata rivers diversion project. In the southwestern corner of Colorado the mostly-Anglo citizens of Durango are sharply divided over the prospect of sharing “their” water with the local Southern Ute Tribe. A former political leader, once touted locally as a future governor, is enticed to come back into politics to resolve the impasse. Lots of historical background will make this saga interesting, mostly to historians and political scientists. []

By Alyson Noel. St Martin's Griffin. 306 pp. $17.99.

Alyson Noel's story of a soul seeker set in New Mexico. Written for teen audiences.
Fidget's Folly
By , Stacey Patterson. Mountain Press Publishing. 36 pp. $18.00.
Top Pick
"Finally Echo was going to fly.” So begins this story of two peregrine falcons, raised in a 'hack' box at the edge of a canyon. Fidget and Echo are brother and sister falcons who began their lives in an incubator and later were brought to the canyon to learn to fly and to hunt on their own. They grow bigger and stronger and soon are independent. The end notes tell the reader that peregrine falcons have been taken off the Endangered Species list and are flourishing. This brief picture book has good, clear illustrations and simple text. It is ideal for a second- or third-grade reader. []

Finding Casey
By Jo-Ann Mapson. Bloomsbury. 316 pp. $26.00.
Top Pick
This novel has bits of lots: Santa Fe lore, cultural diversity, cookery, romantic love (both adolescent and mid-life), ghosts, suspense, family values, exposition of cult mentality and abuse, social support services, and—ultimately--renewal. The characters are well-rounded and believable, the social commentary relevant and the plot keeps readers turning pages. It’s quite an achievement to cover so much ground successfully. []

Gods Without Men
By Hari Kunzru. Alfred A. Knopf. 384 pp. $26.95.
At one level this is well-written, carefully thought out science fiction. Spread across seven decades the events leading up to a dramatic conclusion should cause readers to ponder the place of humankind in a chaotic universe. The prominent setting is that “magical” place in the Mojave Desert known as The Pinnacles where, we can readily imagine, aliens from another galaxy might land and offer to share their knowledge with us! []
This novel is made up of a series of separate tales loosely connected over time, 1775-2009, and place, The Pinnacles in the Mohave Desert. It is contemporary with the financial crash of 2008, military training for success in Iraq, and a drug-addicted British rock star trying to escape pressures of fame; but also steeped in history with reference to Fray Garces’ explorations, Mormonism and mining in the 1870s, ethnological studies of the 1900s, and World War II paranoia over foreign infiltration. The main thread concerns an East Indian, his Jewish wife, and their autistic son who disappears at the Pinnacles and much later is found unharmed but changed. This is a creative, contemplative, literary achievement. []

Goldberg Variations
By Susan Isaacs. Scribner. 322 pp. $26.00.
Author of more than a dozen novels and other books, Isaacs misses badly in this attempt to show the interactions of an old and powerful business woman with her three grandchildren, all of whom are happy with the life they are leading. Even the Santa Fe setting fails to provide a reasonable backdrop. []

Growing Season, A
By Sue Boggio, Mare Pearl. University of New Mexico Press. 296 pp. $18.95.

Romance and chile farms along the Rio Grande from a rising writing team who know their characters and culture.
Hard Country
By Michael McGarrity. Dutton. 624 pp. $28.95.
Top Pick
McGarrity, the popular author of a baker’s dozen mysteries featuring former New Mexico sheriff Kevin Kerney, stretches his literary wings in this epic novel of three generations of Kerney men (and one exceptional woman) carving out lives in the unforgiving badlands of West Texas and southern New Mexico. McGarrity has his history down cold, as his compelling fictional characters rub elbows with the likes of Billy the Kid, Albert Fountain, Oliver Lee, Pat Garrett, Albert Fall, Eugene Manlove Rhodes and other notable southwesterners. But the real jewel here is the family saga of flawed men overcoming their limitations in order to hold fast in a hard country. McGarrity once again proves himself a master storyteller. []
This saga of the settling of the Kerney family in the Tularosa Basin covers the years 1875-1918. The title is apt as the characters endure drought, floods, Apache raids, rustlers, financial woes, untimely death of loved ones, two wars, and political skullduggery, all based on what seems to be accurate research. For me the real strength is the characters: John Kerney, who is doggedly determined to provide a future for his son; Patrick, who can’t admit weakness or show emotion; and his wife Emma, equally stubborn. The language flows; the dialogue rings true, all in all an outstanding historical novel. []

Hard to Have Heroes
By Buddy Mays. University of New Mexico Press. 248 pp. $19.95.
Top Pick
In the late 1950s, fourteen-year-old Oregonian Noah recounts the year he spent living with his mother and cantankerous Uncle Bud on a hard scrabble ranch outside of Tularosa, NM. The hot, lonesome, rattlesnake-infested country is the perfect place for a boy to develop self-reliance, courage, rodeo skills and life-long friendships. All of these things Noah does and has exciting adventures along the way, including a stand-off between his uncle (aided by Apaches) and the US Military, which wants to take his “kettle wrench” for missile testing. Fascinating descriptions of desert creatures are a bonus in this heartwarming coming-of-age novel for adults. []

Haunted, The
By Bentley Little. Signet. 389 pp. $7.99.
If you can suspend belief, this is a very scary horror tale set in a small city in New Mexico. An ordinary family moves to an old house only to discover that it’s haunted by a vindictive, controlling, evil monster who predates the Spanish conquest. By turns terrifying, edifying, insightful, mundane (words wasted on descriptions of meals), and gross (sexual weirdness), this is a mixed bag. The author knows his locale, develops believable characters, creates suspense, offers a groundbreaking solution, but it was hard for this reader to get involved. []

Her Knees Pulled in
By Elizabeth Jacobson. Tres Chicas Books. 84 pp. $14.00.
In this reflective edition of her own poems, poet Elizabeth Jacobson ably blends her love of the Southwest with her understanding of what it means to be a woman. The four sets of poems -- “Angels of Children Circle the Planet,” “The Inside of an Orange Melon,” “Coil,” and “Five Seasons” -- sparkle and dance with lines like “After morning tea there is the sun / so passionate her arms burn in minutes / leaving her hot for the rest of the day…” and “A lyre snake / its back of petroglyphs / designed to cloak / his detective life….” Jacobson keenly senses arroyos and red cliffs, sun and amor. []

Left for Dead: A Novel
By J.A. Jance. Touchstone. 293 pp. $25.99.
This police procedural ranges all over Arizona as Ali Reynolds is drawn into a whirlwind of murder when one of her police academy classmates is gunned down during what seems at first to be a routine traffic stop. Meanwhile her friend Sister Anselm is helping a young woman who has been beaten savagely and both victims are in a hospital in Tucson. Solid plotting and motivations along with good character development make this page-turner a thoroughly satisfying read. []

By Kathleen Papajohn. Martin Sisters Publishing. 272 pp. $16.95.

Mystery and murder in Phoenix, Arizona in the year 2195.
Million Heavens, A
By John Brandon. McSweeney's. 272 pp. $24.00.
A seamless blend of magical realism and New Age sensibility propels this engaging tale of lost individuals searching for meaning in their lives as they orbit the Albuquerque hospital where a child musical prodigy lays in a mysterious coma. A lone wolf prowls the night observing human goings on, while a dead musician explores the nature of creativity from the afterlife. Amazingly, Brandon holds tight on the reins of his ensemble cast, as his facile pen draws readers into a world of small victories in ordinary lives. []

No Return
By Brett Battles. Dell. 370 pp. $7.99.

In the Mojave Desert the crash of a Navy jet fighter sets TV cameraman Wes Stewart in the path of a killer.
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. []

Rock Bottom
By Sarah Andrews. Minotaur Books. 291 pp. $24.99.
Em Hansen, forensic geologist (yes, there is such a profession, Google it), sets off with her husband and 13 others, most of them strangers, on a 3-week trip down the Colorado from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Bar, and murder, as well as other crimes, happens along the way. I venture to say that Andrews has rafted the Colorado River. She gets the locations, the rapids, the scenery and the frequent disharmony of such trips just right. It’s an excellent mystery and, if you have never been on a rubber boat on a big river, it might encourage you to consider signing up with one of the commercial companies that run many such trips each year. []

Rope, The
By Nevada Barr. Minotaur Books. 357 pp. $25.99.
Almost 20 years ago Anna Pigeon arrived in the Southwest. In this engrossing tale of her first job in a National Park (actually Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area) we see the thirty-something woman take on a seasonal job then disappear on a weekend hike. Recognized by her co-workers as a “drifter”, no one worries much about her disappearance and Anna must overcome a monster and a monstrous plot to survive. The best Barr in years. []
This new Ann Pigeon mystery goes back to her first experiences as a seasonal at Glen Canyon National Recreational Area. Newly widowed and fresh from a career in NYC theatre, she wakes up naked, drugged, dumped in a solution hole, with an unflattering epithet carved at her thigh. Thus begins a summer rife with deaths, harrowing adventures, the challenges of being female in a male-dominated profession, the need to become stronger physically, and finally a realization that this totally different world is where she fits in. The books is fascinating for its lore about Glen Canyon, insightful characters, descriptions of the boating crowd, Anna’s progression from tenderfoot to first class, but most of all, for the page-turning, heart-stopping scrapes and mystery. []

Senorita Gordita
By Helen Ketteman. Albert Whitman & Company. $16.99.
Arana (the spider) is cooking gorditas and one jumps up running off crying "Oh, no Arana! I'm one fast gordita! You can't catch me!" She runs past Lagarto, Crotolo, Escorpion, Javelina, Coyote and up to Buho, an owl on top of a sahuaro. Buho cajoles Gordita to climb up into the sahuaro and he munches her into crumbs.
This vibrant picture book is a retellling of the gingerbread man but set in the Southwest surrounded by cactus, cowboy hats, arroyos and dust. It would be fun to read aloud to a group of kids. []

Shortage of Bodies, A
By Gary McKay. Amethyst Moon Publishing. 301 pp. $14.99.
When Jerry Morgan, the Sheriff of Desert County, AZ, opens a box left in his yard, he finds it contains small human fingers. And that is just the beginning! McKay, author of numerous professional publications, here takes a crack at fiction with mixed results. He nails the Southern Arizona desert setting, but the dialog of his characters sometimes makes the reader say to himself “No one would say that.” []

Skeleton Picnic, The
By Michael Norman. Poisoned Pen Press. 249 pp. $24.95.
Pot hunting, or stealing Native American artifacts, is the focus of this latest mystery that brings BLM Ranger J.D. Books and his friend, Sheriff Charley Sutter, together again. A couple of known pot-hunters have disappeared and their home has been ransacked. Many items from their “collection” are missing. Their trailer and other equipment are found abandoned near an archaeological ruin on the Arizona Strip. So begins this so-so mystery which follows a rather standard path involving the usual suspects as well as the usual conflicts between government agencies. []

So Damn Lucky
By Deborah Coonts. Forge. 381 pp. $24.99.
Welcome to Las Vegas, NV, for the third Lucky O’Toole adventure. Lucky, whom you may remember from two previous outings, is the PR person for a mega-resort appropriately named “The Babylon.” People always seem to be dying and/or disappearing within her area of responsibility! This is a pleasant read filled with wisecracks, nutty people and enough suspense to help you through a long airplane ride. []

Sofia and the Purple Dress / Sofia Y El Vestido Morado
By Diane Gonzales Bertrand. Pinata Books. $17.95.
A didactic bilingual children's picture book about a young girl named Sofia who wants to fit into a purple dress for her cousin's quinceanera. The dress doesn't fit so she must go on a diet and start exercising.
Amazingly the purple dress fits Sofia at the end of the story and everyone is happy. []

Soledad Crucifixion, The
By Nancy Wood. University of New Mexico Press. 325 pp. $21.95.
Top Pick
It’s circa 1897 in a remote Indian village in New Mexico’s Sangre Cristo Mountains. Priest Lorenzo Soledad has chosen to be crucified in order to save the primitive village from takeover by the government. The priest, tortured by doubt and conflicted between the teachings of the Church and the beliefs of the natives, is further agonized by the internal struggle of his lustful nature against his yearning for holiness. Cast out by the Church but yet not understood by the Indians, Soledad will eventually be canonized. Lyrical, mystical, original, irreverent, philosophical, and comical, this novel captures the essence of culture clashes in New Mexico.


Territory, The: A Novel
By Tricia Fields. Minotaur Books. 278 pp. $24.99.
Josie Gray, police chief of the small Texas town of Artemis, has just two other officers and a small office staff. Partly because she’s female she gets little respect from anyone. Just across the Rio Grande the equally small Mexican town of Piedra Labrada is a hotbed focus for drug wars and as the hostility and killings mount she finds herself very much alone in the battle, without support even from those citizens who should be on her side. This smoothly-written first novel won the 2011 Tony Hillerman prize. []
This novel captures the realities of current border issues, the challenges of weather and politics in West Texas, the difficulties of being a woman in a man’s world and the loneliness of individuals who deal with these issues, all set against the backdrop of a mysterious killing. This top-notch read won the Tony Hillerman Prize for Mystery in 2011. []

To Hell or the Pecos
By Patrick Dearen. Texas Christian University press. 197 pp. $22.95.

Crime and revenge drive desperate people deeper into the Pecos country as novelist Patrick Dearen spins a Western about the landscape he knows so well and the people he met in real history. The action comes fast and furious.
Under Sonoran Skies: Prose and Poetry from the High Desert
By Bill Black, Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, Susan Crosby-Patton, Kay Lesh, Patricia Noble, Larry Sakin. Imaginings . 249 pp. Index. .

Poetry and prose by six Tucson authors.
Whose Tail on the Trail at Grand Canyon?
By Midji Stephenson. Grand Canyon Association. $12.95.
Top Pick
A mom and dad and their two children visit the Grand Canyon and watch as various animals hop and run away from them as they hike the trail. They try and guess whose tail they see on the trail, while readers try and guess, too, by observing the back end of the animal as it disappears around the next page. This entertaining hike down the Canyon is written by Midji Stephenson, a retired children’s librarian and volunteer at the Grand Canyon National Park with illustrations by the very talented artist, Kenneth Spengler. []

With Blood in Their Eyes
By Thomas Cobb. University of Arizona Press. 224 pp. $24.95.
Top Pick
Cobb’s clever dialog does not mask the fact that his characters, real historical figures, are crude, sometimes Quixotic, and uneducated men. Based on a 1918 shootout in remote southeastern Arizona, the event itself and the manhunt that followed are often so graphically described that you might think the author had been part of it. But not content to simply describe gruesome events, Cobb provides the background that lets us see how this murderous event came to be. If you like realism in your fiction, this novel is as good as historical fiction gets! []
This historical novel is based on the true story of the Power family of Graham County, AZ, who, in 1918 were assaulted at dawn in their cabin by members of the sheriff’s department. Survivors, two brothers seriously wounded and a hired man, flee to Mexico. The bulk of the action is their heart-stopping journey. Unbelievably, the dialogue among these tough, gritty, uneducated men is lyrical and the characters are clearly differentiated. Cobb reveals what was behind the early morning massacre in flashbacks. This is an absolutely riveting account. []

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