Dutton July 2002, 23.95, 320 pp.
On a little traveled road in Lincoln County, New Mexico at the site of a burned down fruit stand, two bodies are found in the remaining rumble. One body is that of small time gambler Joseph John who recently struck it big on the reservation casino while the other corpse is that of Anne Marie Montoya, a woman who disappeared into thin air one decade ago.
The primary on the Montoya case is Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney and the man in charge of the Humphrey investigation is Deputy Sheriff Clayton Istee. Although the two men are father and son, neither knew about the relationship until recently. Clayton would prefer to forget about the relationship but when the two cases intersect in an unexpected manner, the two men are forced to work together and take a step closer to forming a relationship.
Like Tony Hillerman before him, Michael McGarrity puts the state of New Mexico on the map. His style is smooth, subtle and his storytelling abilities keep the reader in thrall, wondering what will happen next. THE BIG GAMBLE is no gamble at all for reader; it is a surefire winner for anyone who likes a fascinating police procedural.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner