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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.

Scratchgravel Road
By Tricia Fields. Minotaur Books. 308 pp. $24.99.
A body in the desert, a decommissioned nuclear weapons plant, torrential rain, and two endangered women are just a few of the problems confronting small-town police chief Josie Gray. Fields, whose debut novel "The Territory" won the Tony Hillerman Prize, stretches her wings in this nifty police porcedural set in the West Texas borderlands. Fans of Nevada Barr and J.A. Jance will welcome Gray to the sorority of tough, smart, and empathetic female detectives. []
Things are getting hot for small town police chief Josie Grey, and it’s not because of the oppressive summer heat in the tiny Texas town of Artemis. A dead body scarred with mysterious lesions, a heat stroke victim who won’t—or can’t--- say why she was out wandering in the desert, and a nuclear power plant clean-up company with a hidden agenda are all adding up to something beyond business as usual—and when the torrential rains threaten to unleash decades of nuclear waste stored at the old power plant, things really get interesting. Tricia Fields delivers a very readable yarn with plenty of plot twists in this second outing for Chief Josie Grey, first introduced in the Hillerman Award-winner “The Territory.” []

Sister Rabbit's Tricks
By Emmett "Shkeme" Garcia. University of New Mexico Press. 40 pp. $18.95.
This trickster tale is inspired by one of the many rabbit
stories of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico.
While I enjoyed the story, I was put off by the amateur illustrations so will not pick it as a SWBY. []

Son, The
By Philipp Meyer. Ecco/HarperCollins Publisher. 561 pp. $27.99.
Eli McCullough, born in the year of Texas independence, learns a fundamental lesson from the people who killed his family and took him captive as a child: "It had become clear to me that the lives of the rich and famous were not so different from the lives of the Comanches: you did what you pleased and answered to no one." In this breathtakingly original novel, Meyer explodes our cherished myths of frontier settlement as Eli amasses a fortune in cattle and oil, leaving a finely crafted cast of McCullough descendants to deal with the consequences of an old man's obsession. With humor and pathos, Meyer challenges the American dream of wealth and power and assesses the cost of success for the winners and losers. []
Philipp Meyer takes history by the horns this epic saga of the McCulloughs, a family dynasty descended from the first white male born in the newly-established Republic of Texas. Through the simultaneously-told accounts of patriarch Eli, his grandson, Peter, and his great-great-granddaughter, Jeanne, the mythology of the American West is parsed to reveal the resilience and determination of the players, but also (and more importantly) the unfathomable greed, racism and awful violence that marked the struggle for dominance. Kidnapped by Comanches as a boy, pragmatic Eli knows no particular loyalty, raiding with his native captors as freely as with the Rangers. By contrast, Peter is handicapped by his own humanity and rendered a family outcast, and Jeanne eschews fulfilling relationships in her dogged pursuit of recognition in a business world blind to women. Guggenheim Award-winner Meyer delivers an account that is as mesmerizing as it is harrowing. []

Spider Woman's Daughter
By , Anne Hillerman. HarperCollins. 320 pp. $25.99.
Picking up where her late father Tony left off, Hillerman gives us a new episode in the Leaphorn and Chee stories. Her first novel (she has published several other books) starts with a bang, literally, as Officer Bernadette Manuelito (now Mrs. Jim Chee) watches helplessly through a restaurant window as Lieutenant Leaphorn is gunned down in a parking lot. Hillerman has room for improvement to become the magnificent storyteller her father was, but this is a good start in that development. []

Strong Rain Falling
By Jon Land. Forge Books. 368 pp. A Caitlin Strong novel.. $25.99.

By Don Waters. University of Nevada Press. 208 pp. $25.95.
Top Pick
He’s unemployed and broken-hearted, but Sid Dulaney’s no criminal and he certainly didn’t set out to be a drug runner when he left Massachusetts and his two-timing girlfriend and came back to Tucson to care for his Grandma. But the rent for his beloved Grandma’s assisted living won’t pay itself, so to keep her in comfort he makes regular forays into Mexico to smuggle out cut-rate medications for her quirky neighbors in the retirement village. Sid is an anti-hero for our times, flying beneath the Border Patrol’ radar in an un-air conditioned Honda Civic while dodging a decidedly off-beat Mexican drug lord, all for the most compassionate of reasons. Dan Waters, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, offers a first novel rich in quirky characters and gentle humor, and it’s a charming and very readable take on filial love triumphant. []

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