When a neighbor of BJ and Paul’s dies, Paul is sure it was no accident. After a call to his police friends, BJ is inclined to agree. The case seems to involve an old scandal that rocked Albuquerque, a scam that drew in most of the city’s elite, yet the case was never completely solved since two of the main players disappeared. As the two men look into the case, it quickly becomes clear that someone doesn’t like them digging up old dirt.
In this sixth outing for private investigator BJ Vincent, we finally get a little more of BJ and Paul together. The two met and became a couple in the first book of the series, but since then Paul has for the most part been on the periphery. Someone BJ comes home to or bounces ideas off of, but not an active participant in the investigation. In this outing, Paul is more a part of the investigation, and as a little added spice, there’s a bit of friction between the two. It turns out to be the natural kind of issue that comes up in the course of a relationship.
At its core, “The Voxlightner Scandal” is still a mystery, and it’s the kind we’ve come to expect from this author. The case is not quite as straightforward as it might seem, and solving one piece of the puzzle doesn’t necessarily lead to a solution for the rest. Even as the field of suspects narrows down, it’s not clear until the very end exactly who killed the neighbor, and why.
As has been the case in the last couple of books, this installment is a little less of a New Mexico travelogue than the first books of the series. Still, there’s enough history and other colorful insights to make me was to visit the state one of these days. The various cities and geological features of the country have always been like another character in these stories whom we’ve gotten to know as the series unfolds.
Although we see a lot more of Paul in this book, it’s hard to say we get to know him, or BJ, any better. Although there have been some quite interesting and colorful characters in these stories, I wouldn’t describe them as character driven plots. The matter-of-fact writing style has always put me more in mind of Jack Webb rather than Agatha Christie.
“The Voxlightner Scandal” is available from Amazon.