Bad Country by CB McKenzie

Rodeo Grace Garnett is an ex-rodeo star turned private eye living in an abandoned housing development  just outside of Tucson,  on the Sonora Desert,  in southern Arizona.  One day he comes home from vacation to find a dead man at his gate.  He calls the police and his lawyer.  The sheriff and others show up and it turns out this man is only the latest in a number of murders where the bodies have been just laid out alongside the highway – findable.

Bad Country 
by CB McKenzie
2015 / 294 pages
read by Mark Bramhall  10h 37m
rating –  B+
(read and listened) 

One other murder is central to the plot,  though – the murder of Samuel Rocha,  grandmother of Kathryn Rocha, an old Indian  woman.  She is very poor but will pay Rodeo what she can to find his killer.

The story is definitely set in the southwest and it shows in the descriptions of everything from the heat and the landscape to the bulding interiors and from the ethnic mix to the language.   Even the structure seems like an interesting play on the setting –  McKenzie uses no chapters,  no quotations and no unnecessary commas.  This would be in keeping with the striking plainness of the desert.

There are a few too many characters but that might have been necessary for the development of the plot.  Actually,  I really only got interested at about the half-way point when a new person is found dead and some technology is introduced – at that point the crime turned into a puzzler and a who-done-it,  motives and all.

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