Key Witness: A Southwest Mystery by Sandra Bolton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Courtesy of NetGalley, publishers Amazon Publishing, Thomas & Mercer and author Sandra Bolton. Many thanks for making the advance copy of this book available to me at my request in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Key Witness is a murder mystery investigation involving multiple stakeholders, the Italian Mafia, the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang and a few others thrown in to make it a complete pot pouri.
As a murder mystery cum chase I would rate it just about 3. But what pushes the rating up 1 more star is the background scenes. The book is mainly based in the Navajo Nation. The author does an incredible job of describing and bringing the haunting landscape to life.
You experience the land through the eyes of the newbie in this case the protagonist Abe Freeman, who has embarked on a road trip to find himself after losing his girlfriend to cancer. He gets mixed up in a murder of a fellow drifter he chances across overnight and subsequently becomes a Key Witness in the whodunit.
Brought in by the female protagonist of the story Emily Etcity, he has to stay in the state so that he can give witness when required. Emily is a Navajo and she takes him on board to keep him out of the way.
The Native American landscape is drawn in haunting beauty and through the various characters living on the land, you can feel the pride, the sense of attachment and the love that they have for the land.
The connect and respect that the tribe people and their ways of life give a very profound and powerful message of communing with Nature in a world shadowed by consumerism.
IMO that lifted the quality of the book from Like to Love.
The ending leaves a unconcluded story of Abe Freeman, the murder mystery is solved, but Abe Freeman is still on the road to self discovery and he needs to find himself first and then deal with the relationship that he has with Emily and her family.
The book deserves a sequel. We deserve to see the story of Abe Freeman played out to the end.