Happy last Tuesday of June. Tuesday means it’s book review time.
I became interested in Rich Curtin’s Manny Rivera books earlier this year. February’s Files is the second book of the series.
Even small towns have secrets worth killing for…
A skeleton in a makeshift stone grave is discovered on a remote bluff overlooking Labyrinth Canyon in southeast Utah. Cause of death: a bullet to the back of the head.
The victim turns out to be a controversial investigative journalist from New York City who moved to Moab a few years earlier for some peace and quiet. That’s what he found, but only for a little while. He couldn’t shut off his investigative instincts and began probing into a dangerous situation about which the town folk were totally unaware. He got too close to a well-kept secret and that eventually cost him his life.
Manny Rivera, a Grand County deputy sheriff, is assigned the case. Time is of the essence, as an unsolved murder in the backcountry will inevitably inhibit tourism, Moab’s sole economic driver. To solve the case, he must unravel a series of four puzzling questions. In the end, he is torn by a moral dilemma, testing his commitment to the letter of the law.
When ATV riders discover a skeleton in a remote area near Labyrinth Canyon in Southeastern Utah, Deputy Sheriff Manny Rivera is called to investigate. The body belonged to Moab resident February Flannigan who had disappeared three years earlier. Most believed he had left town, but someone had a reason to murder him.
Flannagan was a former New York investigative journalist who had an interest in local politics and business dealings. Rivera’s investigation leads him to discover some files Flanigan had hidden away in the trunk of his car. Were the subjects—Insurance Fraud, Wedding Article, Bus Accident 1968, Utah Department of Health Moab Office, and Illegal Immigration—related? If so, how? It’s up to Manny to find out.
This book is written largely from Manny’s point of view. There is a lot of narrative as he thinks through his investigation.
Curtin paints a vivid description of the Southeastern Utah area, something that appeals to me. When an author puts readers in the setting, that’s a plus for me.
I also like the character of Manny. He’s young but hard-working and eager to learn. He also has a strong sense of the importance of family.
While the plot is not complicated, I thought the book was an enjoyable read and will be reading other books in the series.
3.5 stars rounded up to four for review purposes.