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A Fernando Lopez Santa Fe Mystery
By James C. Wilson

When Santa Fe musician Danny Ortiz is murdered, Private Investigator Fernando Lopez is hired by Ortiz’s wife to find the killer and his investigation takes him to mysterious Painted Skull Ranch in Taos, a 200-year-old haunted ranch where Lopez uncovers a viper’s nest of greed, treachery, and murder.


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Santa Fe musician Danny Ortiz is murdered by two men while walking home from a gig in downtown Santa Fe. Police believe thieves or vagrants attacked Ortiz, but his wife disagrees and hires Private Investigator Fernando Lopez to find the real killers. Lopez learns that Ortiz had been scheduled to perform in an upcoming concert at the Lensic Theater with Dallas Longstreet, a nationally known musician from Austin, Texas. However, Longstreet had bolted from his Lensic commitment and his marital problems and fled to a mysterious ranch outside Taos rented by an old friend and drug dealer, Travis Walker. Lopez goes to Taos to question Longstreet and discovers the ranch––Painted Skull Ranch––is a haunted two hundred-year-old historic property that includes an abandoned penitente morada. Lopez doesn’t know if Longstreet is staying at the ranch by choice or being held there as a prisoner. The plot thickens when Longstreet overdoses in suspicious circumstances orchestrated by his wife and her lover, Travis Walker. Every step of the way Lopez’s investigation takes him deeper into a web of deceit and betrayal, ending in murder. Includes Readers Guide

Emeritus Professor of English and Journalism at the University of Cincinnati, James C. Wilson lived in Santa Fe during the turbulent 1970s and wrote for the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Santa Fe Reporter. He has lived in Albuquerque since 2012. He is the author of twelve previous books, including Hiking New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon: The Trails, The Ruins, The History and Santa Fe, City of Refuge, An Improbable Memoir of the Counterculture in addition to Peyote Wolf, Smokescreen, Ghost Canyon and The Dead Go Fast in the Fernando Lopez Santa Fe Mystery Series.

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