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by Steven F. Havill
Poisoned Pen Press, November 2018
291 pages
ISBN: 1464210314

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In LIES COME EASY, Steven F. Havill's 23rd Posada County Mystery, the author again focuses on the people, relationships, and troubles in the border county of Posada, New Mexico. In the opening pages, a two-year-old child, Derry Fisher, is found trying to peddle his toy bicycle down a busy highway at night in a December blizzard, wearing not much more than his diapers. It seems his father, Darrell Fisher, had put him out of his truck because he was crying. The little boy is rescued and the difficulties of his family come under scrutiny. They have had a hard time making ends meet, but things get much worse when Darrell is found dead in his truck. Immediate signs point to suicide, but deeper forensic investigation indicates Darryl may have been murdered.

Undersheriff Estella Reyes-Guzman is assigned to the case, although she would much rather be spending her time preparing for the upcoming holidays and the visit from her two sons. Her doctor husband comes home and she has to leave him too to work on this case. Before she leaves, Estella gets a call from the US Forest Service asking her help in finding a range tech, Myron Fitzwater, who has gone missing, along with his truck. As her department searches for him, they discover another body. Connie Suarez, the girlfriend of the missing Fitzwater, seems at first to be another suicide. But upon further scrutiny, it seems she may also be a murder victim. Are these disguised murders somehow connected?

Al Fisher, Darryl's brother, comes into the station voluntarily to help with the inquiry, but the information he gives only increases the mystery, since his travels and actions on the day of Darryl's death don't quite add up. The sheriff's staff has no reason to suspect him, but they are puzzled. Other residents of the area may or may not have heard shots, may or may not be involved. Eventually Estella and her colleagues work out a possible scenario and motive to include the two murder victims and the missing range tech.

When they show up to question a possible perpetrator a horrifying incident ensues. Then, the truth is revealed by an unlikely source. All in all, her involvement with the inhabitants of the area and her understanding of their relationships with each other lead Estella to uncover the crimes and their motive. Havill has again written an engrossing mystery that focuses on the people of Posada County and the intricate ways in which their personalities and lives intertwine.

Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, November 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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