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Heartshot is the first in a series of police procedural novels based in Posadas County on the U.S. Mexican border. The main protagonist is undersheriff Bill Gastner a vetern of the U.S. armed forces who has spent many years working for the Posadas County sheriff's office.
The story is told in the first person. This allows us to get inside the head of Bill Gastner and to begin to understand the motivation of this character for whom, by his own admission, the job is work, hobby and therapy. Gaster is short and overweight. He smokes too much and avoids exercise like the plague. He is a well rounded and highly likeable character defined mostly by his humanity. There is nothing exceptional about the man. He works hard and through hard work achieves results. He is free with his praise of those around him who are talented and hard working. By the same token he is not very tolerant of those who are talentless or uncommitted.
Heartshot is based around a fourth of July car accident in which some local teenagers are killed while trying to evade a police patrol car. The investigation of the accident is complicated when a large bag of cocaine is discovered in the wreckage. The book is wonderfuly evocative of the dry desert conditions of its setting. The writing is smmoth flowing and highly accomplished. Rusty Nelson, who reads the book, is nothing short of wonderful. when you listen to him you have no difficulty imagining the short, overweight chain-smoking undersheriff leaning against his police cruiser watching with a careful eye the world going past. Nelson is Bill Gastner. It is one of those occasions which occur now and then in audiobooks where the reader is perfect for the subject matter and becomes an extension of the story itself. Derek Jacobi as the Emperor Claudius springs to mind as anothe example. I suggest you buy this, enjoy it and then prepare to buy the rest in the series!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This was my first Havill. It will not be the last.
The plot was intelligent and well developed, the characters were real and likable, especially the crotchety under-sheriff hero. After the last mystery I read, I particularly appreciated the detective heroes not making a series of stupid mistakes (just that big one at the end).
The novel is fairly short, at only 7 1/2 hours, and the body count was a little high for my taste, but I listened to it in one sitting, unusual for me, as the story held me all day. I'm already looking forward to the next one.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I've fallen for crusty old undersheriff Bill Gastner. Author Steven Havill has done a marvelous job of developing a believable and intruiging set of characters living in Posadas County New Mexico, and reader Rusty Nelson's voice perfectly embodies the gritty, gravelly sheriff who lives for his job. I'm working my way through the series and enjoying every opportunity to know the folks of Posadas a little better.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful