Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Breck's Quandary

Rate this book
Living in a remote mountain ski town called Quandary, Sheriff Breckenridge “Breck” Dyer has a lot of problems. The Sheriff's Office is broke. He’s down to one deputy. The cell phones barely work and he can’t even afford a decent patrol car. Seems like the city council keeps cutting and gutting his budget every time he turns around. But things can get worse and they do. A Mexican drug cartel called Los Equis sends two men to scout out the high country and squeeze out competitors. Caught up in a haze of drug dealers and dirty politics, Breck gets accused of corruption himself. Can he stop the illegal drug trade before anyone gets hurt—or winds up dead?



291 pages, Paperback

First published May 24, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Mark Mitten

7 books26 followers
Mark Mitten was born in Texas and raised in Colorado. He is a member of the Western Writers of America, and is known for his western novels Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave and Hard To Quit. Both books were finalists for the Peacemaker Award. Mark has written a trilogy about a sheriff in the Colorado mountains, dealing with drugs, politics, and the quirks of small town drama:

Breck's Quandary (2019)
Ghosts of the Past (2021)
A Time Between Times (2022).

Praise for Breck's Quandary:

“In addition to dramatizing the issues surrounding marijuana legalization, the novel offers a realistic window into a sheriff’s everyday struggles of budget, staffing, and community relations. Sheriffs are sure to recognize themselves in this action-packed, modern noir.”
—Sheriff & Deputy Magazine

Praise for Hard to Quit:

2018 Peacemaker Award Nominee
Best Western Novel Category

"Fast-paced and at times gripping, this book
was difficult to put down."
—Historical Novel Society

"Gripping material indeed."
—Western Fiction Review

Praise for Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave:

2013 Peacemaker Award Nominee
Best First Western Category

"Lyrical, fresh, and an impressive debut."
—Roundup Magazine

"Mitten awakens images of Gunsmoke and
The Magnificent Seven...Certain to be a
favorite of equestrians, modern ranchers and
history buffs."
—The Summit Daily

"Dialogue and actions resonate with
—Western Fictioneers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4 (36%)
4 stars
2 (18%)
3 stars
4 (36%)
2 stars
1 (9%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Malvika Jaswal.
163 reviews23 followers
July 25, 2019
3 stars

The fascinating name that the author has chosen for his book was what made me pick up it up in the first place and then there was that stunning cover of the Jeep running on a dirt track towards the Colorado mountains. The book itself deals with the modern-day conundrums of new conflicting medical knowledge regarding the use of marijuana and legality or illegality of its use and so economics and health concerns grapple with each other in a small ski-town.

The author has tried to bring out the issues that rural America, and indeed any small village in the world, is grappling with – the need to increase in-flow of cash into small town economics and the need to find ways of keeping young people from abandoning their homes for the so-called ‘greener pastures’ of distant cities and the inability of simple folks in understanding how to deal with true evil when it begins to move in among their safe and organized lives.

Breck is the deputy of a mostly tranquil town until the day he is called to the house of a local drug addict on suspicion of growing illegal weed in his home. The events that follow that phone call shake the whole town on its foundations. A Mexican cartel is moving into the mountains and nobody is willing to  do much about it, except for Breck and his young and equally inexperienced deputy. The mayor of the town is a truly obnoxious man who seems to thrive only on pushing people around and looking for ways to establish his power over the few folks who are part of his hilly domain.

As I read, I found myself almost begrudgingly beginning to like the washed-out Sheriff and his deputy as the duo flounder around trying to deal with something that seems inexplicable to them. Even the mayor with his secret agenda seems particularly gullible when he finds himself caught in a ruinous situation that is entirely of his making. At first, I was a bit skeptical of a gang of Mexican gang members just moving around a town freely, stealing stuff and getting away free and clear in what appears to be a predominantly white town. But then you give in to the storytelling and decide not to over-think it. It is fast-paced enough for you to forgive loopholes and have a fun read. Also, one begins to imprint on Breck and his friends a little bit and that certainly helps.

The author also seems to be trying to make a few political points with this story – mainly about the common man just trying to do his job and higher powers messing things up in their bid to become even more powerful, but, all in all, good time-pass.
170 reviews
May 23, 2019
I liked what I took to be a play on words in the title and the story sounded fun too. It was in a way. The Sheriff and his deputy have a fairly quiet life in Quandary if you don't count the sleazebag of a Mayor. He treats them like dirt, cuts and cuts their budget whilst doing the utmost to line his pockets from various nefarious schemes all painted as being for the good of the town. Then a drug cartel moves into the area and takes over from the local cannabis growers. They are really nasty people, bringing in essentially slave labour to cultivate the fields of the stuff high in the mountains and away from prying eyes.. There are car chases, murders, thievery and skulduggery - plenty of action then. There are plenty of evocative descriptions of the mountains in winter, life with minimal phone coverage and so on. The "good" characters get on well in spite of all the shortcomings in their vehicles, support and office facilities, even office. They work well together, witty and snippy remarks galore, and I was relieved that they did have flak jackets (and wore them) when they were chasing serious gun toting drug guys. Luckily as it turns out. As with many novels there was little in the way of description of the characters - I know Jenny, the Deputy, had red hair and was petite (I could picture her hopping to get in to the Sheriff's jeep; know that feeling all too well) but beyond that it was down to my imagination to picture the other characters. I have to admit that there were times when I wanted to metaphorically slap the Sheriff - someone living in a mountain area with minimal phone coverage (even if that is down to the Mayor) surely should have more wits about him than running out of fuel, being unable to do any basic repairs to a vehicle and the like. Yes vehicles should be properly maintained and yes the sleazebag Mayor (err Town Council?) should allow funds to do this but..... Equally, he didn't ride (horses that is). In a wild mountain area with few roads but lots of trails. Really.? He sounded more like the archetypal dippy blonde than a Sheriff at times. The two drug cartel baddies were oh so bad - I now see that another reviewer saw them along the lines of Laurel and Hardy, I know what she means. Slightly comedic, but with automatic weapons. Still, it wasn't a bad read overall. I did not, however, like the ending. Yes the drug guys got their comeuppance but the rest is a cliffhanger. What happened to various other characters, not least the sleaze ball Mayor?. I'm not sure that I care enough to read the inevitable sequel. Thanks to NetGalley and Sunbury Press Inc. for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
885 reviews4 followers
May 15, 2019
Breckenridge 'Breck' Dyer is sheriff of a little ski-resort, and usually life for him and his deputy Jenny O'Hara is pretty quiet. However, that is about to change as a drug cartel have moved into the area and intend to set up a serious drug farm using illegal immigrant labour.

Breck's family and friends become targets as he tries to track and apprehend these villains. However, he is seriously hampered as the city mayor, Seneca Matthews, does not like him, so will not approve finances for basic equipment (such as a truck that actually works).

I found it astounding that a mayor can prevent a law enforcer receiving the funding he needs to do the job, or that he can even remove him from office if he manufactures enough evidence! And that a sheriff is elected not state appointed! Equally perturbing was the lack of co-operation from the officers in the next town!

I really enjoyed this book. Breck and Jenny are endearing characters, and the story was extremely well-told. I didn't want to put it down! I hope there will be more to come!

Thank you to NetGalley and Sunbury Press Inc for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Martha Brindley.
Author 1 book15 followers
July 11, 2019
My first read by this author and, overall, the book was well written. Set in a small ski resort, the local sheriff, Breck, comes up against a drug cartel. The mayor is less than helpful and is very unsupportive of the sheriff's department. Plenty descriptive passages of the mountains in winter, although I found the plot unbelievable and the book was too long to maintain my interest.I would read a follow up, due to the cliffhanger ending leaving a few loose threads. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC .
981 reviews15 followers
May 24, 2019
This is quite a well written and enjoyable story, even though it's a bit too long, and the plot is kind of stupid.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.