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Before She Dies (Bill Gastner Mystery #4)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  316 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Posadas Register reporter Linda Real barely survives a nighttime patrol with one of Undersherrif Bill Gastner's deputies. Her face is ruined by a shotgun blast, but the deputy is dead, and Bill is beyond angry. With the assistance of sharp-eyed detective Estelle Reyes-Guzman, Bill implicates the thrill-seeking daughter of the local Republican County Chairman. Before he can ...more
Kindle Edition, 265 pages
Published (first published 1996)
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Sep 04, 2010 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steven Havill writes a wonderful series about law enforcement in fictional Posadas County, New Mexico. Under-sheriff Bill Gastner is overweight, out of shape, loves Mexican food, and is one of those people you would just love to know. He's empathetic and kind, intelligent and tenacious and he knows the county better than the back of his hand. As someone who lives in a sparsely populated county, I really respect the difficulties faced by the sheriff's deputies. At any given time they might be res ...more
Cathy Cole
Feb 27, 2014 Cathy Cole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These Posadas County mysteries are little gems. All about family and friends and support and compassion, when something bad happens to one of them, everyone is galvanized to do something to help. The elements in this series that keep me coming back for more are the picture perfect setting of a small town in the Southwest with its entwined heritage of the Hispanic, Native American and Anglo residents; truly intriguing plots that usually keep me stumped; and a cast of characters with whom you feel ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Francis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well he is likeable. I mean what's not to like about a self effacing, ageing overweight Sheriff who wonders every day if he should be put out to pasture. Yep, you can see him looking like a corpulent Buddha sporting a flat-top hair cut with dusty brown uniform, clip down sun glasses and a big star on his chest and some boots requiring a polish.

But don't under estimate him, those lines around his eyes aren't just crows feet there the lines of experience, patience and a stubbornness that just don'
Another good read in this series, this time has the Undersheriff investigating the murder of a member of his own squad. Good descriptions that continue to help with character development, and with a sense of the landscape, with the setting in southern New Mexico.
I greatly enjoy this series and its self-deprecating, middle-aged, overweight protagonist Undersheriff Bill Gastner. The development over several books of his mentorship of, working relationship and friendship with Estelle Reyes-Guzman is realistic and lovely to see. I do get tired, however, of the stylistic quirk of his always referring to her with all three of her names. Surely once she has been introduced the first time in each book, we could dispense with the formality. This quirk appears wi ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: law-enforcement
#4 in the Posadas County mystery series. I discovered this series in August 2010 and promptly shoehorned the first five into my overloaded reading schedule in as many weeks. As part of the world outside the mystery realism found in the series, reporter Linda Real loses an eye during a ride-along with a deputy. Real rehabs and joins the Sheriff's Department as a recurring character. Very enjoyable series.

Posadas County mystery - Reporter Linda Real barely survives her nighttime patrol with a depu
Aug 30, 2011 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is number 4 in the Sheriff Bill Gastner mysteries. I listened to it before book 3 because the previous one wasn't available for check out from my local library yet. And so, there was a little gap in what I missed in the third book.

I am still impressed with Steven Havill's plots. So far he has come up with plots that are not typical of police procedurals or cozy mysteries. Unlike "Murder She Wrote" stories, where you wonder how so many murders can happen in such a small town, the crimes in t
Robert J.
Feb 22, 2014 Robert J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an early Gastner novel set in New Mexico, strong police procedural structure with nice use of evidentiary procedure and fairly subtle clues (at least they were subtle to me). It's a wonder anyone has cars in New Mexico what with most of them being shipped South of the Border with impunity. And that's probably the big flaw: the police are focused more on the plot-related crimes than on their jobs, and that left me feeling a little dubious about the police work, not good in a procedural. F ...more
Robert Scott
Finished 03/30/2014. The Posadas County Sheriff's Dept is shocked and appalled when one of their deputies is murdered while on duty and reporter Linda Real is severely injured. Then a young lady is found in her pickup over 300 yards down a steep slope off a county road. After determining that it is murder Bill Gastner & Estelle Reyes with the help of the rest of the department and other citizens decide that it is all part of a scheme to take stolen vehicles to Mexico to be sold. One of the l ...more
May 17, 2008 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again Havill delights his readers with this episode in the Bill Gastner series. The undersheriff still can't sleep, Estelle is back as his part-time detective and one of his other deputies has been shot. Now he and Estelle work together to solve the mystery is a delightful ride. These stories fit nicely in the police procedural with a cozy bent. I'll be getting the next book in the series soon because I love visiting with these people.
PROTAGONIST: Undersheriff Bill Gastner
SETTING: New Mexico

Fourth in the series.
I am tearing through this series, staying up too late at night :-). In general, the characters are wonderful, the plots a little weak in the finish. Crash scenes that were depicted so well in the early books are starting to sound a little repetitive by book four, but the people and situations, including the motives for their crimes, continue to be fun and to ring true.
Carol Crigger
Feb 17, 2013 Carol Crigger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title to this one doesn't say much for the story, but I have a history of enjoying books from Poisoned Pen Press so picked it up. Sure glad I did as it kept me turning the pages. I love books set in the rural areas of the country and Mr. Havill does a great job with the setting on this one. Excellent characters, too.
Apr 16, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, new-mexico
Undersherrif Bill Gastner - overweight, ageing and insomniac but stills ticking to his resolve to be a non-smoker. .This time it turns out to be smuggling cars across the Mexican border which the investigation into the death of drunken, young, wild Tammy turns up. Sense of place is strong in the setting and the society. Definitly dusty little border town New Mexico, this.
Jul 10, 2011 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book, and really enjoyed it. The main character is a man after my own heart, over-weight, older, gets short of breath, but the wise old cop who knows all. The narrator was perfect for the book. Good light reading!
Joyce Cantrell
Jul 24, 2014 Joyce Cantrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. The characters are great, and I liked the problem solving that takes place in the novel. I am a fan of all of Steven Havill's books!
Martha Newman
Sep 21, 2012 Martha Newman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this author and I love Sheriff Bill Gastner! He's an overweight 60-something sheriff in the vast nowhere of the boot heel of New Mexico where the closest town of any size is Deming.
Karen Cowgill
Sep 20, 2016 Karen Cowgill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book!! Some of it was a little too sad, but altogether, a good read!! (get it...good read? hahahahaha!!) Sorry! I got a little carried away...still, it really is good!!
Sharon K Elliott
Sharon K Elliott rated it it was amazing
Nov 20, 2014
Pen Waggener
Pen Waggener rated it liked it
Oct 28, 2012
Lanita rated it liked it
Oct 21, 2012
Anne Fletcher
Anne Fletcher rated it liked it
Aug 23, 2014
Hw Santry
Hw Santry rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2015
Gill Baltazar
Gill Baltazar rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2015
Greg rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2014
Elizabeth N
Elizabeth N rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2015
Terry Tschann Skelton
Terry Tschann Skelton rated it really liked it
Jul 23, 2014
Sylvia rated it really liked it
Apr 12, 2012
Gina rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2010
Lynn rated it it was amazing
Aug 20, 2013
Hallana rated it really liked it
Jun 18, 2014
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Steven F. Havill is an American author of mysteries and westerns.

Havill lives in Raton, New Mexico, with his wife Kathleen. He has written two series of police procedurals set in the fictional Posadas County, New Mexico; along with other works.

More about Steven F. Havill...

Other Books in the Series

Bill Gastner Mystery (10 books)
  • One Perfect Shot (Bill Gastner Mystery, #.05)
  • Heartshot (Bill Gastner Mystery, #1)
  • Bitter Recoil (Bill Gastner Mystery, #2)
  • Twice Buried (Bill Gastner Mystery, #3)
  • Privileged to Kill (Bill Gastner Mystery, #5)
  • Prolonged Exposure (Bill Gastner Mystery, #6)
  • Out of Season (Bill Gastner Mystery, #7)
  • Dead Weight (Bill Gastner Mystery, #8)
  • Bag Limit (Bill Gastner Mystery, #9)

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