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A Fernando Lopez Santa Fe Mystery
By James C. Wilson

The murder of a Hollywood actress sends private investigator Fernando Lopez to Taos, where he finds himself in a world of intrigue, caught between feuding ranchers and old legal grievances while searching for a murderer.


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After a Hollywood actress is murdered at a Taos hotel, private investigator Fernando Lopez receives a call for help from Taos County Sheriff Hank Mathews, an old friend. In Taos Lopez learns the murdered woman, Anne Lewis, had been part of a movie crew filming a tacky ‘walking dead’ movie. Yesterday she’d returned to the hotel after filming at the Taos Historical Cemetery and gone for a swim in the hotel pool. Her body was found that morning with evidence indicating she had been forcibly drowned. Working with Sheriff Mathews, Lopez discovers that Lewis had a lot of enemies. Suspects include a jealous co-worker and Ted Fisher, the executive producer of the movie, who was being sued by Lewis and two other women for sexual assault. Fisher’s bodyguard threatens and later attacks Lopez in an effort to end the investigation and protect Fisher. Yet another suspect is Cowboy Jack Ryan, a young lothario who comes to the hotel bar every night looking for hookups with the various actresses. In fact, Cowboy Jack had slept with Lewis the night before the day she was murdered. Cowboy Jack complicates the investigation, because he’s part of an ongoing feud between two ranching families outside Taos, the Ryans and the Luceros. When Cowboy Jack shoots and kills the oldest Lucero son and then flees, he becomes the chief suspect in two murders. Lopez and Sheriff Mathews chase Cowboy Jack and his younger brother across northern New Mexico, finally cornering them at Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu. In the ensuing melee the murderer of Anne Lewis is finally revealed. 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 fifteen previous books, including Hiking New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon: The Trails, The Ruins, The History; New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, Photographing the Ancient City and Santa Fe, City of Refuge, An Improbable Memoir of the Counterculture in addition to Peyote Wolf, Smokescreen, Ghost Canyon, The Dead Go Fast, Painted Skull Ranch, Taos Gothic, and Devil on Canyon Road in the Fernando Lopez Santa Fe Mystery Series.

On the Cover: Cover art by Virginia Maria Romero over photograph by the author of the Taos Mountains from the Sagebrush Inn, Taos, New Mexico.

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