Death of a Healing Woman by Allana Martin is the first book in the Texana Jones mystery series. It begins on the Day of the Dead. I enjoyed reading about this setting and these characters; there's a marvelously realized vision of the location. My photo above is the careless shot I uploaded to Facebook.
Yes, there are comforting warm beverages in this book. Here's an example from early on:
The wall clock read 7:15. Luxuriating in Charlie's presence behind the front counter, I indulged in a second, then a third cup of coffee at the table in front of the kitchen window with its wide-angle view -tens of miles of the unfolding desert.Publishers Weekly calls it an "absorbing debut" and concludes, "Martin populates Jones's tiny hometown of El Polvo with hardworking, goodhearted eccentrics and farmers, all richly portrayed in a series sure to be a winner." Kirkus Reviews calls it "a quietly absorbing debut".
I am myself only here, in the borderland, la frontera. I had left this country for a year during a brief first marriage and had learned that I was out of step with the values by which much of the rest of the world judges happiness and success. I had fled back home, fearful that if I stayed away I might lose myself forever.
The border with Mexico is a boundary only in the minds of professional politicians in Washington. To fronterizos it is a country in itself, a country of the mind and soul, a place where two cultures grate and bleed and blend into a hybrid country, ambiguous, harsh, and full of extremes.
Even our language is different, a fluid mix of Spanish and English.Code-switching, the linguists call it when fronterizos move back and forth between Spanish to English in the same sentence. We call it Tejano.
My thoughts were intruded upon by someone in the front of the trading post hurling rapid-fire Tejano at Charlie, whose modulated tones punctuated the sound bites of a voice I recognized. I poured the remains of my coffee down the sink and pushed through the connecting door to say hello.
It was a staff pick on this Texas Library blog, where they say you'll like it "If you like contemporary mysteries with a western flavor such as the Walt Longmire Series by Craig Johnson or the Joe Pickett Series by C. J. Box" and also this: "Plot driven with a strong sense of place, this suspenseful mystery also hosts a cast of vividly memorable characters."
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