July was a busy reading month for me. Many of you know I’ve been reading a series by two different authors. The Manny Rivera books by author Rich Curtin are easy, but satisfying reads. Rather than string out the reviews into several posts, I decided to group them together. This week, I’m featuring three books.
Deputy Sheriff Manny Rivera has undergone changes in his life. His mentor, Sheriff Bradshaw has retired and moved away from Moab. Manny has issues with his new boss, Denny Campbell to the point where Manny debates leaving Grand County.
When a body is discovered in a remote area near Moab, Manny is assigned the investigation. The victim is a young woman named Sunshine who lives in a small desert commune known as MoonShadow.
Manny’s investigation leads him to the owner of a nearby ranch who claimed Sunshine was trespassing on his property when in fact she was on BLM land. Raymond Stinson has grazing rights on the property, and he resents anyone being there, including a drilling company that is surveying the area for possible minerals.
When Stinson is found murdered by his cousin, who served time in prison, Manny wonders if the two murders were connected. But how and why?
Curtin, as usual, takes us through the scenic backcountry of Utah as he leaves a trail of clues leading to the killer. I was also happy to see Amy Rousseau, a character the author introduced in the third book, make an appearance. This fourth book in the Manny Rivera series is a fast and easy read, but no less entertaining than the others.
This fifth book in the Manny Rivera series is a bit different from the others as it involves corruption in the form of the wealthy chairman of an industrial conglomerate. Wallace Lamont sets out to destroy the re-election campaign of a Utah congressman, a staunch supporter of environmental issues.
Lamont hires a political operative named Oblansky to pit the environmentalists against the cattlemen who use public lands for cattle grazing. Manny is assigned the job of discovering who is responsible.
But cut fences and graffiti soon escalate to murder, and the FBI is called in. Manny’s boss orders him to stand down, but Manny isn’t about to let it go.
Curtin’s vivid descriptions of the Utah landscape are present, as is Manny’s persistence. While politics plays a role, I didn’t find the references overdone, and they didn’t dissuade me from reading the story.
Death Saint is the sixth book in the Manny Rivera series, and this time the author takes readers to one of my favorite places—Northern New Mexico.
When new clues emerge from a fifteen-year-old unsolved murder leading to the victim’s identity, Manny travels to a small New Mexico village to inform the family. What he discovers is two more “accidental” deaths occurred around the same time as well as the disappearance of one of the victim’s best friends.
With the help of Deputy Sheriff Gloria Valdez, Manny tries to solve the mystery. It’s not easy, as villagers have a general distrust of outsiders. Not only that, but another deputy sheriff also doesn’t appear to be trustworthy.
The author brings a lot of cultural traditions into this story. In his usual fashion, Curtain paints vivid descriptions of the New Mexico landscape. He also leaves open the possibility of a future relationship between Manny and Gloria.
Another enjoyable read in the series.
That wraps it up for now. Next week, I’ll feature three more Manny Rivera books.