SPOILER ALERT: This is the second in a series. Proceed at your own risk.
Julia Kalas begins refurbishing an old farmhouse when she finds a dead body under the floorboards. That might be simply inconvenient for most people, but Julia is a recovering former criminal, a target of the Aryan Brotherhood, and was recently kicked out of Witness Protection (see the first book in this series, Nine Days.) So when a PI acquaintance asks for Julia’s help on a missing-person case that would necessitate a trip to the border, she figures it’s a good time to get out of town for a while.
John and Julia hit Ojinaga (across the Mexican border from Presidio, Texas) looking for the missing woman. There is no shortage of suspects: The cartels are legion and omnipresent, three hundred women have been disappeared in and around Juarez, and there’s a hinky plastic surgeon in the mix. Julia and John find their quarry, but nothing is as it seems. After a near-fatal attack leaves John permanently disabled, it’s up to Julia, with the help of her erstwhile man-friend Hector, to make things right.
Minerva Koenig’s South of Nowhere is a thoroughly entertaining mystery in the timeless tradition of the classic hard-boiled detective genre. Think Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, starring a likeable if unconventional antiheroine. Now set the whole shebang in West Texas where the air is “dry as a saltine cracker.” It’s quite a combination.Click here to read the entire review.