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Wrecked (Josie Gray Mysteries) by Tricia Fields
Cover Artist: David Baldeosingh Rotstein
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250021373
Date: 04 March 2014 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Josie Gray is the police chief in the small West Texas border town of Artemis. Her worst nightmare is realized when her accountant boyfriend, Dillon Reese, is kidnapped by a vicious Mexican drug cartel, the Medranos, and thrown into a dark, creature-infested pit. His young secretary, Christina Handley, has been found at his office, fatally shot in the heart. Dillon's ransom is an unbelievable nine-million dollars. The Medranos threaten to cut off his arm if Josie doesn't provide them with a down payment of $50,000. Josie, with the help of Officer Otto Podowski and Nick Santos, a professional negotiator, plots to rescue Dillon before her life is forever wrecked.

Tricia Fields' third novel, Wrecked, returns readers to the shoot 'em up violence that riveted their attention in her superb debut, The Territory. It is more gruesome than the first two. Wrecked describes in graphic detail the torturous ordeal of Dillon Reese's brutal kidnapping. He is stripped naked; lowered into a dark, damp, cold pit that is crawling with creatures; and given very little to eat and drink. His life becomes a living hell.

More by Tricia Fields:
Josie Gray Mysteries:
* The Territory
* Scratchgravel Road
* Wrecked
Police Chief Josie Gray isn't faring much better. She is consumed with grief and worry over his loss. Otto Podowski must head the investigation. There is a lot of mystery in regards to why Dillon was targeted for kidnapping. There is also much speculation as to who actually shot Christina, an attractive, popular girl who is mourned by many.

Once again, Tricia Fields deals with a frightening, disturbing topic that is prevalent in today's newspaper headlines. Her first novel, The Territory, describes a large land mass on the Tex-Mex border where wars between drug cartels are fought; innocent Americans, many of them farmers, are caught in the crossfire. Her second novel, Scratchgravel Road, involves the illegal dumping of industrial waste and its harmful effects on citizens. Now, her third novel, Wrecked, involves kidnappings, which are commonplace in Mexico. However, it has been feared by many that they will begin occurring in the states with a growing frequency. This is a good reason to keep one's finances a secret. With an economy that continues to spin downward, many Americans are desperate for cash.

Tricia Fields has crafted another fast-paced, easy-to-read, well-rounded novel. It has a large gamut of unique characters, some of them kind, some of them evil, and some of them weird. There is a lovable hound, Chester; a frightened, lonely teenager, Hector Follet; a wise, grizzled neighbor, Dell Seapus; a Christian housewife, Delores Podowski; and an asinine mayor, Steve Moss, who will make readers want to slap his face. This novel has plenty of action, suspense and romance.

Actually, there are two novels here. One is the action and adventure involving the Medrano cartel and the other is an intriguing whodunit involving Christina's shooting death. Our likable heroine, Police Chief Josie Gray, has her hands full. There is also a touch of the supernatural element involving the pendant of a skeleton and the followers of Santa Muerte, Saint Death.

Tricia Fields has proved once again that West Texas noir remains hot--as hot as the desert surrounding Artemis. Her excellent novel, Wrecked, can be read and enjoyed as a standalone but I recommend reading the series from the beginning. If you don't mind the isolation, Artemis is the type of town in which you may want to live. However, it is not always quiet and peaceful. This series reads almost like a cozy, with its delightful, likable characters, but the violence can be a touch too graphic. Nevertheless, I believe mystery fans, both male and female, will enjoy this series. If I had teenagers at home, I wouldn't mind them reading these novels. I only hope that Fields is working on another installment or else my life will be wrecked.

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