A Reluctant Saint

Severn House. (Josie Gray Mystery, Bk. 7). Sept. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781448306879. $29.99. M
Hillerman Prize winner Fields follows The Drummers with another ripped-from-the-headlines mystery featuring her compelling series protagonist Josie Gray. With a police force of only three, including herself, police chief Josie Gray has trouble even handling the normal day-to-day problems in the small Texas border town of Artemis. Then a mayoral candidate, Mike Striker, makes everything worse with his controversial plans for a greyhound track in Artemis. At the same time, Striker is inspecting voting machines and claiming to be part of a congressional commission on voting oversight. Problems escalate when a greyhound breeder is found dead, followed quickly by a second suspicious death that sends the entire police department into turmoil. The timing of the second death looks bad for Josie, who happened to be at dinner with Striker’s nephew when it occurred. To add to Josie’s stress, she keeps encountering traces left behind by someone who appears to have been getting into her highly secured house. The cases seem tangled together, complicated by local, state, and even international politics, with one suspect in Mexico.
VERDICT Fields’s seventh Josie Gray mystery is a timely police procedural that deals with current issues from border policing to election tampering. Suggest for readers who appreciate atmospheric procedurals that capitalize on setting.
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