Monday, 05 May 2014 19:51

Reviw of The Replacement Child by Christine Barber

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A  Review


Arthur Scott


The Replacement Child


Christine Barber


   I found this novel, published in 2008,  to be an extremely entertaining novel. It is basically a murder mystery that takes place in Santa Fe and Toas. The book is a "who- done-it" to the end and the novel was a winner of the Tony Hillerman prize.

   The author has the credentials and eye to capture the nuance of the Angelo and Hispanic culture of northern New Mexico. In 2008 she was living in Albuquerque perusing a career in medicine.. She also had been an editor at TheSanta Fe New Mexican and a journalist for the Albuquerque Journal and the Gallup Independent.

   The story is about the discovery of a young woman's body at the bottom of Rio Grande Gorge below the Taos bridge.  The main characters are a Santa Fe City Police detective, Gil Montoya; a story editor for a daily Santa Fe newspaper, Lucy Newroe and a newspaper tipster known as "Scanner Lady." Many others are involved as the story develops. The story takes more turns than the mountain-road through Truchas. Along the way are native Hispanic faith; The Santuario de Chimayo,  animosities and cooperation between State Police, County Sherriff's and City Police; drugs and gang leaders. The author states in the novel that "New Mexico's dirty little secret is that northern New Mexico is the heroin capitol of the United States." And that in every village and city are many people that have lost relatives to drug over-doses.

   In my opinion, this is an entertaining novel that will appeal to most who enjoy good mystery novels, but particularly to those who understand northern New Mexico and her people. 



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