Turning Point by R. P. Snow

Squatch with Turning Point
Squatch with Turning Point

Why I Read It: the first book, Folsom Point, was quite fun.

Where I Got It: A review copy from the author (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Anyone who enjoys modern-day mysteries or fiction set in northern New Mexico should check this out.

Publisher: Self-published (2013)

Length: 249 pages

Series: Book 2 Abigail Romero Mysteries

Even though this is Book 2 of the series, I think it would work quite fine as a stand alone.

Set in modern-day northern New Mexico, Abigail Romero is a private investigator living in Abiquiu, land of Georgia O’Keeffe, flash floods, green chile, and the hanta virus. Abigail joins her friends on Christmas Eve for a night time religious experience at Taos Pueblo, only to witness a murder. While she saw the disguised murderer leave, she can’t immediately give any useful information to the police. However, another job involving a missing Mimbres pot that belongs to a well-known and wealthy Santa Fe gallery owner lands on her plate. Yet she is drawn back to the Christmas Eve murder and soon finds herself trying to untangle some local political intrigue mixed with drug running that could potentially bring her harm.

Right off, I could tell that Robert P. Snow’s writing talent had grown since Book 1 (and they aren’t published years apart – so just think how good his next book will be!). His style was crisper and the plot picked up right away with a murder. Abigail certainly had her work cut out for her from the start. The book is filled with northern New Mexico culture and landmarks. The political intrigue resulted in your not-so-typical murder mystery that was interesting to follow and try to unravel before our lead sleuth.

Add to that a side romance for Abigail that involves one of my favorite side characters from Book 1. It was sweet and the author didn’t linger on it too much so there was no distraction from the mystery and action. I also need to put in that Abigail’s cat, Duster, made it into Book 2. I enjoy a furry animal companion as a sidekick and was glad to see that Duster continues to harass and nuzzle Abigail by turns.

In the previous book, Abigail had to face the possibility of shooting another human. In this book, she struggles with her darker side, wondering where the line is and will she ever face that turning point where a human goes from self-defense to murderer. In fact, some of the most intense scenes in this book is where she must face that definite possibility in her similarity to a character who went past the turning point some time ago.

My criticsms of this book are few. There were only a handful of typos. Sometimes I felt I could use a flow chart much like Abigail created in the story to help me keep the potential bad guys all straight. Abigail’s best friend Carmen works in an office (where?) and was sometimes used by the author as a resource for informational tidbits – and I felt that this was a quick and easy way to move the story forward. While I think that aspect could have been fleshed out a bit more, I was able to set that little annoying comment aside and enjoy the story. On a personal note, I really enjoyed the archaeological and anthropological tidbits in Book 1 and found that Book 2 had almost none of that type of info; but this is a personal preference and not necessary a criticism on this book.

Overall it was a delightful romp through northern New Mexico, capturing the flavor of the tangled politics, the time-honored tradition of vengeance, and just scraped the top of the drug issue that permeates the local culture. The ending was not what I expected and I was delighted by this unexpected surprise. Then, on top of that, there was one tiny little twist at the end that I did not see coming and it got my blood pumping. I am definitely ready for Book 3.

What I Liked: Set in northern NM; intriguing plot; unexpected ending; Abigail kicks ass; a little side romance that doesn’t hinder or eclipse the mystery; Duster the cat; all the Spanish vocabulary.

What I Disliked: One side character is used a little too often as an infomercial to keep the story moving forward.

RIP8It’s that time of year for the reading event R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. Anyone can join. Pop on over for other spooky, mysterious, or dark reading pleasure.

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