Book Reviews ~ The Shaman’s Secret, Final Arrangements, and Cast a Cold Eye

Hey, everyone. August is marching right along, and I for one am counting the days until the 31st. Last week, I reviewed three books of the Manny Rivera series. This week, I’m sharing another three. (Note, these are the seventh, ninth, and tenth books of the series. I read and reviewed book eight a few months ago.)

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Shaman’s Secret is another fine installment in the Manny Rivera series. This time, Manny is investigating the poaching of bighorn sheep in the remote Utah wilderness.

A member of a local militia group is gunned down and Manny is sent to investigate. While pursuing the shooter, he discovers another crime with origins linked to the activities of a Ute medicine man in the 1700s.

Manny enlists the help of a young anthropologist to unravel “The Shaman’s Secret” in hopes of solving the murder.

There are familiar characters, including BLM Agent Adam Dunne and the incompetent sheriff Denny Campbell who is running for re-election. Gloria Valdez, from Death Saint also makes an appearance.

As usual, Manny’s persistence shines through, and we also see the side of him that values family and relationships.

The ending is satisfactory, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Manny Rivera has just returned to Moab after visiting New Mexico to meet his fiancé’s parents and introduce her to his family. He’s a little miffed that while he was gone, Sheriff Louise Anderson solved a murder case where a well-known member of the community was arrested.

Not long after he arrives home, another murder takes place. The victim’s name is Iggy Webb, a rockhound that came to Moab a few years earlier and had a somewhat shaded past. However, Iggy decided to put that behind him and build a new life. He was a loner, and his only friends were fellow rock collectors. Who wanted him dead?

Manny’s investigation leads him to believe the two murders were connected. Did Anderson arrest the wrong person? Manny’s tenaciousness leads him into the world of rockhounding. In his usual fashion, Curtin paints vivid descriptions of the Utah landscape and teaches readers a bit more about the area.

This book had an interesting twist, and although I won’t give away any spoilers, the title holds a clue. Another fascinating read!

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cast a Cold Eye may be my favorite Manny Rivera book yet. Manny, fresh off his honeymoon with Gloria is called to investigate the murder of a young man who was planning to write a historical novel about a historical Moab area ranch.

Everyone who knew him liked Rusty Randall and none could figure out why anyone would want to kill the young man. Manny is at a loss to figure out a motive for the murder. Then he learns Rusty had found a cigarette case while exploring the ranch with his metal detector. It had been buried for a long time and the name engraved was that of a woman who had been missing for almost thirty years.

In the meantime, his boss, Sheriff Louise Anderson is running for re-election and her opponent is none other than Rivera’s nemesis, former sheriff Denny Campbell. Campbell is leading in the poles and if elected, Manny knows he’ll have to resign. That puts him in a dilemma since Gloria has just relocated to Moab.

It’s Gloria who discovers something that helps Manny solve the case. I don’t post spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that.

Cast a Cold Eye blends modern-day and history. The only thing I had an issue with was the easy confession of the killer, but it didn’t distract from the story.

This is the tenth Manny Rivera book, and I’m hoping it won’t be the last.

That wraps up the Manny Rivera series, or at least to date. These books are simple and easy to read. They aren’t complex stories, but nonetheless enjoyable.

On another note, my last two weeks at work are shaping up to be busy ones, so I’ve decided to take a blogging break for the rest of the month. With the exception of Story Empire, I won’t be around much, but I’ll be back in September.

16 thoughts on “Book Reviews ~ The Shaman’s Secret, Final Arrangements, and Cast a Cold Eye

  1. What fun reading an entire series, Joan. I’ve enjoyed your reviews on all of them and these are no exception. Enjoy your blogging break! And Happy Retirement!!


    1. Thanks, Jan. I’m still hoping there will be more books in this series, but if not, it has been fun.

      And thanks for the warm wishes. Only two more weeks!


  2. Don’t think I’ve ever reviewed all of the books in a series before. You must be hooked.

    Let the work countdown begin. It’s probably good that you’re busy. That’s the same way my career wound down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve gotten hooked on two series – this one and the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Kruegar.

      I’m glad these last couple of weeks will be busy. I’ve already turned over much of my duties to others, so I was beginning to get bored. I’d rather have something to do. Thanks for stopping by, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

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