DEBUT OF THE MONTH
Fields, Tricia. The Territory. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Nov. 2011. c.288p. ISBN 9780312613785. $24.99.
Josie Gray, police chief for a tiny Texas border town, isn’t about to let the Mexican drug cartels overrun Artemis, population 2500. But a night of brutal slayings on the Mexican side spills over into her local emergency room, and the result is a hospital shoot-out with huge ramifications for Josie’s personal safety. Whew! And that’s just the beginning. Then the local off-the-grid guy (who just happens to run an illegal-weapons business) is killed execution-style—turns out he’d been selling to the Mexicans. The violence increases along with Josie’s strategizing as she tries to figure out whom she can trust in this mess of deception and greed. VERDICT: Buckle your seatbelts for an off-road trip full of adrenaline. Tough and determined to make her way in today’s Wild West, Josie is the type of police chief you’d want in your hometown, a gutsy new heroine who would be friends with Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon and probably Lori Armstrong’s Mercy Gunderson, too. This razor-fast thriller debut won the 2010 Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery set in the Southwest.