Book Report: Bag Limit by Steven F. Havill (2001)

I bought this book at the Seasonal 80% Publisher Price Store in Springfield. Suddenly, it occurs to me that it wasn’t last autumn….it was two years ago. Wow. I paid $4.00 for the book by the unknown-to-me author because I was in an orgy of spending.

Within the text, Sheriff Bill Gaston of Posados County, New Mexico, is enjoying the night air of his county when a car full of drunk teens strikes his parked car. The driver takes off across the scrub, but Gaston and his undersheriff–who’s standing for election the following week–know where the boy lives, as he’s the undersheriff’s cousin. But the boy tries to flee again when the sheriff apprehends him at home later, and the boy dies as he falls into the path of a truck while escaping. Gastner wonders why the boy is running so hard to get away from the police for an accident that hurt no one.

The book definitively takes a retrospective, somber tone, as Gastner’s planning to retire and this book might represent a conclusion to the Sheriff Bill Gastner series. I came late to it–this was the first I’ve read–and don’t know the characters that well, but that didn’t really hurt my experience. However, its meandering tone reflected a lot of time on the reminiscing and very little on the investigation of the crime. Perhaps the book is looking to be serious fiction with a crime in it, but it shouldn’t be a series mystery then.

But it wasn’t a bad book. It’s one of several I’ve read this year set in the southwest (Killing Raven, Cyber Way, Appaloosa, and so on), so I’m beginning to want to travel down there and see how the books have captured the flavor.