Final Stop Albuquerque, Alice Zogg, Aventine Press, 2009, 200 pp
Alice Zogg has done many good things for me. She has forced me to learn how to spell Albuquerque for one. She has been a good friend ever since she sent me an email after reading my very first column about books on our very small local paper. Most of all, she has been an inspiration to me as a writer in two ways.
Alice decided that she wanted to write mysteries. Rather than wait for any gate keeper's permission, she went ahead to write and self-publish her first one, Reaching Checkmate in 2003, though she has forbidden me to read it because, well it was her first and she now doesn't think it is very good. I was inspired by her energy and passion in following her dream.
Also, having read her other five books in the order in which she wrote them, I have proof that if a writer just keeps writing, she keeps improving. As I struggle every day to put words together and make them sound good, I remind myself that Alice has completed and put into print six entire books!
As I say every time I read her newest book, Final Stop Albuquerque is her best one yet. She has always been good with plot. Now she has made a new leap in the creation of her characters. R A Huber, the PI in her mysteries, is no Stephanie Plum; wrong age, wrong city and despite being feisty and determined, she is fairly conservative. But in this new book, we see a bit deeper into Huber and what makes her tick. Her new assistant, Andi is young, impulsive, dresses in jeans, leather and cowboy boots and is the perfect foil for Huber.
When 24-year-old Elena Campione goes missing, R A and Andi go into action, dealing with a mad scientist, a horny nightclub owner, a fractious step-mother and a go cart racer; all complex characters capable of killing Elena. Covering plenty of ground between LA, several Arizona towns and of course Albuquerque, NM, they solve what has become a murder and nearly lose their own lives in the process.
Good stuff. Looking forward to the next one.
(Final Stop Albuquerque is available in paperback by special order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)