Another wonderful police procedural from Steven Havill, but with a few location issues…
Without sounding too much like a fangirl, I feel I need to disclose that I’ve been in love with Steven F Havill’s Posadas County mysteries for a couple of decades, having binge read all the titles that existed when I discovered the series in the late 1990s, and then waiting impatiently ever since for a new one to come out every year or two. To me, the series sets the standard for small-town police procedurals, and I’ve enjoyed following both the main and minor characters as they’ve progressed throughout the years. And I’ve also fallen in love with the southern New Mexico/northern Mexico border setting.
So I was nervous about whether I’d enjoy a ”Posadas County” book that wasn’t set in Posadas County. And the result was a bit mixed.
Most importantly, everything was great on the “case” front. No Accident has all of the procedural detail that I’ve come to expect from author Steven F. Havill, just set in California, rather than in New Mexico. I very much enjoyed watching Estelle Reyes-Guzman as she investigated the biking accident that put her son and her son’s fiancée in the hospital. Which, of course, per the title, turns out not to have been an accident at all. And although Estelle’s efforts were complicated by having to operate outside her jurisdiction (mitigated somewhat by the presence of her former Posadas County colleague, Eddie Mitchell on the investigation team), I still felt as if I were chasing down clues and figuring things out right along with her.
On the other hand, though, I really missed Posadas County, and all of its ancillary characters, and the subplots that add so much to the series’ books. For lack of a better description, the setting felt rather flat, and even a few phone cameos from series regulars didn’t really make up for it. Was No Accident still a compelling book that I read in one sitting? Yes, without a doubt. But, do I really really not-so-secretly hope the series moves back to Posadas County for the next book? Yes again.
As a result of the setting issues, I struggled a bit with how to rate No Accident. Luckily, here on my own website, I’m able to award half-stars, and in the end, that’s what I did. So No Accident gets 4 ½ stars, instead of the 5 it would otherwise have gotten. And finally, my thanks to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, and to NetGalley, for the advance review copy.