Monday, October 22, 2012

Mysteries of the Southwest

Several readers have written in to the Personalized Good Reads service asking for mysteries set in the Southwest. Most people using the service are avid readers and have already exhausted the complete works of Tony Hillerman and J. A. Jance. While I was thinking of a reply for the patron, I came across Steven F. Havill's latest book, One Perfect Shot. This book is a prequel to a long running series set in Posadas County, New Mexico. The main character is an Deputy Sheriff Bill Gastner and Estelle Reyes is a new hire for the department. This prequel does an excellent job of setting the stage for a series - solid plot, well defined characters, a great sense of the place. I went on to pick up another book in the series, Double Prey, to find Estelle Reyes-Guzman as a seasoned Deputy Sheriff. I'm looking forward to going back at my leisure to fill in the missing years.

Read on for more mystery series set in the Southwest.
Navajo Tribal Police: 
Tony Hillerman: Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn series
Aimee & David Thurlo: Ella Clah series

J.A. Jance: JoAnna Brady series
Spencer Quinn: Chet and Bernie series told from the dog's point of view (unnamed desert setting)

Elizabeth Gunn: Sarah Burke series

Margaret Coel: Wind River Reservation series
C.J. Box: Joe Pickett series
Craig Johnson: Walt Longmire series

If you could suggest other series set in the Southwest/West that you enjoy reading, I'm sure many patrons would love to learn about more authors to enjoy!


  1. Pari Noskin Taichert has three set around New Mexico (Clovis Incident, Belen Hitch and Socorro Blast). Susan Cummins Miller has a series with a geologist as the main character and are set around the Southwest, including Arizona. Clark Lohr only has one out -- Devil's Kitchen -- but it's set here in Tucson. Arizona Mystery Writers (a Tucson writers group) and Tucson Sisters in Crime have more published members, but some don't write about the Southwest, and some are small-press or self-pub and might not available through the library. (The three authors named above are, I checked.)

  2. Don't forget J. M. Hayes, whose 1990 novel The Grey Pilgrim is set in historic Tucson, and whose latest in the Mad Dog and Englishman series, English Lessons, takes place partly in Pima County.

  3. Thanks to you both for adding to the list!


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