Title: The Lovely Pines
Series: A BJ Vinson Mystery: Book Four
Author: Don Travis
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 254 Pages
At a Glance: This installment in the series stays true to form in its vivid descriptions and historical details about the New Mexico territory as well as its amazing cast of characters.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: When Ariel Gonda’s winery, the Lovely Pines, suffers a break-in, the police write the incident off as a prank since nothing was taken. But Ariel knows something is wrong—small clues are beginning to add up—and he turns to private investigator BJ Vinson for help.
BJ soon discovers the incident is anything but harmless. When a vineyard worker—who is also more than he seems—is killed, there are plenty of suspects to go around. But are the two crimes even related? As BJ and his significant other, Paul Barton, follow the trail from the central New Mexico wine country south to Las Cruces and Carlsbad, they discover a tangled web involving members of the US military, a mistaken identity, a family fortune in dispute, and even a secret baby. The body count is rising, and a child may be in danger. BJ will need all his skills to survive because, between a deadly sniper and sabotage, someone is determined to make sure this case goes unsolved.
Review: Because the blurb for The Lovely Pines is so well detailed, I want to focus on its MCs, BJ Vinson and Paul Barton. BJ is a Confidential Investigator in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is levelheaded and respectful of other law enforcement and his clients, and he tries not to step on any toes. He has an old wound from his Albuquerque PD days that forced him to retire, which adds to the mystery when the injury acts up where danger is concerned. BJ is quite the New Mexico history buff too, and the CI business takes him all over the state. He’s gone a lot, in fact, and misses his boyfriend, Paul, when Paul can’t travel with him. BJ also worries about their age difference and fears that Paul might leave one day.
Paul is a student at New Mexico University and is enrolled in the graduate program in journalism. Paul loves to dance, and while BJ isn’t much of a dancer, he’s more than willing to take Paul out—BJ would do pretty much anything to hold on to his relationship with his young lover, and it’s sweet and wonderful. For BJ, Paul is home. It is somewhat heart-wrenching, though, when Paul refuses BJ offers of help. But, Paul is an independent young man who really wants to make it on his own.
This installment in the series stays true to form in its vivid descriptions and historical details about the New Mexico territory as well as its amazing cast of characters. The mix of mysteries that pop up are well plotted, with a variety of suspects, suspense and danger. The investigative, legal and police processes as well as the coordination and trust that BJ has with those who assist him is well done. Even though Paul wasn’t as heavily involved the way he was in The City of Rocks, he’s there for BJ at a crucial moment. I’m more than curious to see what Mr. Travis has planned for BJ and Paul, and where the next mystery may take them.
You can buy The Lovely Pines here:
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