Heartshot (Bill Gastner Mystery #1)
Posadas County, New Mexico, hugging the San Cristobal
mountains separating it from Mexico, has very few mean streets. No city-slick
cop shop either, but an earnest, elected Sheriff and his aging Undersheriff,
William C. Gastner. Pushing sixty, and the girth of his Sam Browne uniform
belt, widower Bill has no other life than in law enforcement and doesn t want
one, even if he s
Gastner is the anti-hero's anti-hero. He eats too much of the wrong stuff, he smokes, and he's made no effort to build any kind of life for himself outside of his work. As the book opens, he's afra ...more
The author could have been going down my personal list of 'likes' when he planned this series. Small western town as the setting, sensible representation of modern day county law enforcement and characters and attitudes that fit in this scenario. Main characters are an aging undersheriff and a younger, sensible and bright female deputy, both of whom go about the business of ...more
I liked this book a lot. It was a fast read - not because it was light, but because the plot was engaging and made me want to finish the book quickly. The characters are well thought out and complex enough to make them real to the reader. The plot to this ...more
Originally published in 1991.
Bill Gastner is the cantankerous, ornery old Undersheriff of Posadas County. An undersheriff is the person right below the elected position of Sheriff and is appointed by the Sheriff. In the case of fictional Posadas County, the Sheriff is a former used car salesman who is a heck of a businessman but does not know much about law enforcement. So, Bill is literally the old hand that knows his way around the law and the county. Also, he is afraid that the Sheriff might ...more
This is the exciting first entry in what looks to be a promising series. Undersheriff Bill Gastner is pushing seventy, overweight and far from fit. With a newly elected sheriff who has no law enforcement experience, Bill is understandably worried about his future. But first, the small sheriff's department has major problems to deal with. Five teenagers die in a car accident while fleeing from a sheriff's deputy. A stash of cocaine is found in the wreck, but who possessed it? The invest ...more
It was really no surprise to discover a particular character's involvement when earlier something fishy ...more
The town, is small, stuck in New Mexico, the cafe food is all right, the parks' got some trees, and a fountain, grass dries out in the summer. Other than that, it's a long way to a museum an ...more
Our hero is Undersheriff Bill Garstner, the law in a small part of New Mexico where he's rapidly heading towards retirement - in the middle of the small community where he lives, a car crash that claims the lives of five teenagers becomes an even worse tragedy when drugs are discovered and nobody's name is likely to be kept clean. From there, things go from bad to worse as Bill tries to balance his ow ...more
Bill Gastner is the under-sheriff, that is, the one who does the work while the real sheriff is really only good with administration and politics, for Posadas County, New Mexico. Gastner is presented with a tragic accident which shocks the whole town. A car is totaled and burned ...more
This was an OK mystery set in small town New Mexico featuring Undersheriff Bill Gastner. Drugs found at the site of a fatal car crash (local teenagers) leads to an investigation into multiple deaths.
Author Havill has a few places where he needs to "research dump" lots of knowledge about forensics and airplanes which I found overdone. Overall, good vibes from the sense of place and community.
Six kids are killed in auto wreck. A large amount of cocain is found in car. Investigation reveals that a friend In the past died of overdose, and another friend of those in the car is found dead, apparently from suicide. Bill suffers heart attack trying to find the murderer. Havill's characters come to life from the pages of his books, and the reader finds himself engrossed in the stories.
The book was old, so the absence of cell phones and other details of small town life were a little clunky. A strong female detective was a plus, although she was off stage. The extended sequence about a completely naive pilot landing a plane was interesting technical detail. The plot was a little off. Close to a 4.
Will look for another Havill.
SETTING: New Mexico
First in the series.
I borrowed the above format from another reader's review-- seems a good way to start a series review.
I was hooked on this from the first page. The protagonist is great, a set-in-his ways older guy with bad lifestyle habits, the resulting health constraints, but a good work ethic and the professional wisdom of his years. I like to have a hero with heartburn, who has to think twice about scrambling down a hill. ...more
The sheriff leaned against the doorjamb of my office without saying a word, lounging there until I finally decided to notice him. I grunted what could have been a greeting, and that broke my chain of concentration. I punched the wrong goddamn key, swore, wound the platen up, and began to smear the mess on the paper some more with that miserable white correction fluid that flakes all over everything when ...more
I did have my 'money' on the murderer (sorry, no spoilers here, go and read the book!), but was surprised to find out the drug dealer had been his partner in crime... that I did not see coming.
Nice work on the characters - this series really should have made into a TV series as well.
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.