Clark Lohr, one of my favorite Southwest action mystery writers, introduces us to his protagonist, Manny Aguilar. I tagged Clark Lohr as part of a blog hop tour.
Manuel “Manny” Aguilar makes a second appearance in The Devil on Eighty-five, having debuted as the detective hero of Devil’s Kitchen, a border noir first published in 2011. Author Priscilla Barton describes Manny better than I can: “P.I. Manny Aguilar is someone to root for: genuine, manly, feminist, and flawed in all the right ways.”
Manny’s been a private investigator ever since he got fired from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for being in too many gun fights. He never swears in the presence of the dead, even if he’s killed them himself. Manny’s a Mexican-American, a Latino, a Tucson High graduate who played football and then joined the sheriff’s department.
Manny lives in the Sonoran Desert, the place where they have those Saguaro cacti that look like people—the place where the roadrunner and the coyote come from—but the Sonoran Desert is no cartoon; it is one of the harshest natural environments on earth, and there are people on this desert who are decent and ordinary, and there are others who are not, and the flaming black engine that drives the pervasive evil present here is a phenomenon called The Drug Wars, a multibillion dollar a year industry perpetuated by the failure of the United States government, and many of its citizens, to take the money out of drugs.
One day, Manny Aguilar’s boss, Jeff Goldman, a smartass criminal defense attorney, sends him out to the Tohono O’Odham Nation, an Indian reservation the size of Connecticut, to help defend an Indian cowboy accused of murdering his own wife. Manny picks up a trail leading out the west end of the reservation to a two-lane blacktop called State Route 85. Manny will risk his freedom, his life, and his relationship with the woman he loves chasing the devil on highway 85.
Here’s my review of Devil’s Kitchen: It’s titled First-rate literary quality crime fiction
This book came out at the wrong time and has been overlooked by reviewers and fans. Make sure you change that.