Mystery Books for Sale

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by Robins Spano
ECW Press, May 2013
394 pages
ISBN: 1550229974

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In DEATH'S LAST RUN, Clare is called to Whistler to investigate the suicide of a young snowboarder whose mother, Martha, a senator running for the Republican nomination for president in the US, believes that Sasha's death was murder. Clare finds herself dropped into a group of drug manufacturers and dealers who are exporting mountain snow, a high-grade LSD, to the US. It seems everyone she meets is in some way connected with the drug trade. There's Wade, a married alcoholic bar owner for whom Sasha had worked; Richie, a street thug who is trying to go legitimate through the purchase of an interest in the bar; Norris, a dirty cop; and Chopper, the manufacturer. Jana, Sasha's old roommate and Clare's new one, seems to be involved with the whole drug-dealing crew as she pushes Clare to become as active a drug-user as Jana is herself.

There's a rumor in town that an undercover cop has been planted, so Clare spends time deflecting attention from herself as she works to find information and get it to her handlers. Finding the right balance between being effective at gathering information and avoiding unhealthy behavior such as sleeping with` suspects and partaking of their product is difficult for Clare. Since she's naturally averse to direction from authority, i.e., her handlers, she is more effective at the former and less at the latter.

As is fairly obvious from the start, the story of Sasha, drugs, and snowboarding eventually connects up to the plot involving Martha's bid for the presidency. The writing style involves very short chapters, often of just a couple of pages, dealing with different characters. This draws the reader in, with the "just one more chapter" approach, as well as making it clear that everyone's story is intertwined. There are several high-intensity scenes as the book draws to a close, and Spano describes the effect of various drugs consumed by the characters convincingly. While I can't weigh in on whether the drug descriptions are accurate, as a resident of a ski resort town myself, I can confirm that the frenetic pace of the bar scenes during ski season and the descriptions of the tourists are realistic.

The book is written with a light touch and in a straight-forward manner, so it is ideal for a quick escape from reality especially if you like your escape to be in the mountains during ski season.

Sharon Mensing is the Head of School of Emerald Mountain School, an independent school in the mountains of Colorado, where she lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, May 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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