Donne, May 2003, 23.95, 256 pp.
Sheriff Luis Gonzalo of the small town of Angustias, Puerto Rico (pop. 9000) spends most of his time dealing with drunken brawls and domestic disputes. Elena Maldonado calls Luis asking for a lift home from the hospital for her and her newborn son, which he agrees to do though he worries about the twosome. Everyone in town knows that her husband is a drunk and a wife beater but Elena insists she can handle the situation.
He sends one of his officers to check on her, but the deputy finds Elena stabbed to death on her kitchen floor, her husband sitting on the couch and covered in blood holding the murder weapon. The sheriff thinks he has an open and shut case but then he discovers that Elena was cheating on her husband and planned to divorce him. Somebody tries to enter the Maldonado house that is being guarded by a police officer forcing the sheriff to place the perpetrator on the suspect list. By the time he is finished with the case, he has so many suspects that he has to hold some of them in the local church and the deputy mayor's office.
This is a first class police procedural but readers should be warned there is a lot of police brutality contained in this novel. The protagonist is an intelligent man who loves to solve puzzles and as the pieces of the conundrum come together he starts making the right connections. DEATH IN PRECINCT PUERTO RICO is a must read for fans who like a dark and gritty police thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner