On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
This author was not on my radar until he contacted me earlier this year about a book tour for the sequel to it Murder on the Mother Road. After reading it I added this book which released back in July 2011 to my To Be Read list immediately.
Murder on Route 66
Cozy Mystery/ Amateur Sleuths
Setting – New Mexico
Mainly Murder Press (July 1, 2011)
Paperback: 240 page
E-Book ASIN: B006PGKBHK
Bobby Navarro, bad-boy biker with a big heart, interrupts a cross-country trip on his Harley to help the cook of a New Mexico cattle ranch. New challenges, an “adoptive family”, even a new girlfriend—life seems perfect. Then, Bobby finds his boss robbed, beaten and stabbed to death.
Bobby lets himself be talked into staying on as cook for the ranch until a replacement can be found, and promises Tim, the victim’s son, he’ll find the killer. His attempt at sleuthing angers the detective in charge of the case, infuriates Ned, the ranch foreman, who resents Bobby’s friendship with the family, and raises major concerns on the part of Bobby’s girlfriend, Sally.
Police focus on the cook of a neighboring ranch, owner of the murder weapon, but who Bobby believes to be innocent, and on Bobby himself. Bobby looks for evidence against a pack of three bikers who admit to the savage beating preceding his boss’s murder, and a bum who has come into extra spending money following the murder/robbery.
Before Bobby solves the murder, Ned fires him, his girlfriend dumps him, and somebody rams into the back of his Harley, hurtling him off into the desert night—a bundle of cuts, bruises, and twisted steel wreckage. Worse, someone wants to kill Tim as well.
I read Mr. Nilson’s books in reverse order but that is not an issue because they are perfect as stand alones.
Our protagonist Bobby Navarro is on road trip along Route 66 when he decides to stop a while and work on a ranch in New Mexico as the cook’s assistant. He feels right at home and quickly becomes friends with the cook, his wife and son. Then Bobby find his new boss dead in a parking lot. He vows to the man’s family to find the killer. He also stays on at the ranch to cook until a new one can be hired. Police have set their sights on a cook from another ranch but after meeting the man Bobby thinks they’re wrong and delves into his own investigation. The detective in charge of the case and the ranch foreman are both upset about that. His investigation takes him into some scary situations and there is even an attempt on his life. But there is too much at stake for him to give up.
Bobby Navarro has a heart as big as all outdoors, not your typical bad-boy biker. He makes friends at the ranch and a new girlfriend in town. Both put him in precarious straights as the girlfriend’s ex is the detective on the case and there is more going on at the ranch than meets the eye.
As with the author’s other book, the reader is drawn in immediately by Navarro’s real down to earth personality. This is just a temporary stop along the highway for him. He has no real set plans and a job that he can go back to at any time. A job that he needed a break from because it is a dangerous one. Who knew a road trip could be more dangerous? I love this man’s persistence and his fight to right wrongs and get to the truth for people he basically has just met.
The author has laid out quite a plot with twists that turn the story upside down. I had an inkling but never expected the whole way the story actually wrapped up.
Nilson’s stories are unusual because there are not too many cozies out there with male leads and Bobby is edgier than the few I can think of off the top of my head, but his books take place in small towns, have its share of quirky characters and the murders take place without any gory details and the romance never gets explicit. There is also the necessary humor to life the reader away from the tragic situations from time to time. The author calls his work ” a man’s cozy”, but I have really enjoyed both books.
If you are in the mood for something a little different I encourage you to try either of this author’s books. I just hope we don’t have to wait another 5 years for his next one.
About The Author –
Glenn grew up on a farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, hiking, hunting, even panning for gold. After college, he served as an officer in the Navy, then earned a doctorate in sociology and taught at a branch of the State University in Connecticut. There, he developed, directed and taught a criminal justice program. Upon retirement, the West drew him back, this time to New Mexico, the setting for his first novel, Murder on Route 66. Currently, Glenn divides his time between living in rural Florida and up-state New York, writing and refurbishing an 1870’s-era, creek-side cottage. Whenever possible, he enjoys cooking, riding his own motorcycle and camping.
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