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“Black like Blood ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 14/06/2005

Black like Blood
Russ Hall
Five Star, Aug 2005, $25.95, 324 pp.
ISBN: 1594143544

While diving in a storm at night, teenage lovers Donnie Spurlock and Karyn Rainey find a corpse at the bottom of the lake. The townsfolk of Kiowa County are already shaken with the recent unsolved murder of Donnie's father, the mayor of Hoel's Dam, Dennie. The corpse found in the lake is Dennie's older brother Hugh, a WW II veteran missing for forty years whose father also went missing.

Texas Ranger Tillis Macrory investigates the homicides linked by blood, but rumors also include lost diamonds. As the two youngsters refuse to back off and continue digging for the truth, new sheriff's dispatcher septuagenarian retired schoolteacher Esbeth Walters mistrusts all law enforcement officials although she thinks Tillis is the cleanest except when he thinks with the wrong head involving the new deputy Gala.

Esbeth, the star of NO MURDER BEFORE ITS TIME, actually gets involved about halfway into this enjoyable police procedural. Three teams of investigations compete. Tillis assisted by his long time friend and Karyn's father game warden Logan make up the most professional inquiries; the sheriff's office is officially in charge; finally the teen lovers provide an amateur sleuth look. Russ hall brings these divergent competing investigations with Esbeth the retired teacher looking down from her big "desk" with a moral light as she trusts none of the players to learn the truth though her reasoning varies. BLACK LIKE BLOOD is a deep Texas who-done-it with a strong cast.

Harriet Klausner

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