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Santa Fe private detectives Joshua Croft and Rita Mondragon have recently become much more than friends and business partners. When Rita is shot and wounded, perhaps mortally, by the same vicious psychopath who tried to kill her once before, Joshua sets out to find the man. His pursuit takes him from the mountains of New Mexico to a posh Denver suburb, from the bleak plains of Kansas to the sweltering depths of the Florida Everglades. Along the way, he meets a sleazy former prison inmate, an eighty-year-old computer expert, a brutal drug dealer, a somber homicide cop, and a hardened mercenary with a very peculiar hobby. As Joshua races across the length of the United States toward a final confrontation with a savage killer, he also travels back through his own past, to the beginning of his relationship with the woman who now lies near death.
After an attack on his lover, Croft scours New Mexico for vengeanceEver since a bullet smashed her spine, detective Joshua Croft has tried to entice Rita Mondragón away from her house. For years the response from his boss and unrequited love has been the same: "I'll go into town when I can walk there." When she is finally strong enough to walk, their relationship blossoms into love. Rita and Croft are basking on the patio outside her mountain home when a helicopter swoops overhead. A single rifle shot erupts, and Rita is struck down again. After hours in the operating room, the surgeons are able to remove the bullet from Rita's brain, leaving her comatose but stable. As she fights to wake up, Croft starts on the trail for the gunman. Avenging Rita will require him to look back into their past, to the beginnings of their relationship, and the birth of a love that is too young to die.
Croft combs New Mexico for a Navajo who's been dead since 1866On a fishing trip in the mountains outside of Santa Fe, private detective Joshua Croft hears pistol fire. He finds an elderly Navajo encircled by a trio of trigger-happy yokels, demanding the old man dance for them. Croft disarms them, sends them packing, and returns to Santa Fe a few days later. He has nearly forgotten about the incident by the time the Navajo turns up in his office to ask him to find a body. Missing since the 1920s, it is the corpse of a long-dead victim of an American campaign against the Navajo. For years nightmares have plagued one of his descendants, who wants the body found so that the dead man's soul can rest. As Croft searches for the remains, he learns that there are still those who will kill to keep New Mexico's bloody past buried.
A film star begs Croft to find his missing wife and daughterHollywood icon Roy Alonzo has just learned that in Los Angeles there is no such thing as a simple divorce. After years of bitterness and jealousy, his wife Melissa leaves him, taking most of his money, property, and five days a week with their only child. When Roy begins dating again, Melissa accuses him of sexually abusing their daughter, and disappears with her. Alonzo asks Santa Fe detective Joshua Croft to find them and prove his innocence, but there's a problem: Croft thinks Alonzo is lying. Croft refuses to help the star--but a surprise visitor changes his mind. Norman Montoya, underworld kingpin of Santa Fe, is Alonzo's uncle, and he convinces Croft that the fugitives are in jeopardy. The women have been swallowed by an international conspiracy, and it will take brute force--not star power--to bring them back.
Croft looks for evidence to free a tarot reader accused of killing a satanistStrong cosmic energy and stunning scenery have long made Santa Fe a destination for New Age enthusiasts. At a gathering of New Mexico's most renowned mystics, known satanist Quentin Bouvier flaunts a priceless tarot card; a few hours later, he is found hanged from a rafter, head bashed in, the card missing. Suspicion falls on Giacomo Bernardi, a tarot reader and owner of the scarf with which Bouvier was strung up. To crack the state's airtight case, Bernardi's lawyer hires Joshua Croft, a private investigator with no patience for the supernatural but a strong understanding of earthly vice. To prove Bernardi's innocence, Croft reconstructs the events of that strange, deadly dinner party, interviewing all the participants and finding that even the spiritually minded are capable of murder.
A girl's stepmother is murdered, and only Lizzie Borden can find the killer During the summer of 1921, a strange spinster rents the seaside cottage next door to Amanda Burton and her family. The new neighbor dresses in black, does card tricks, and reminisces about a long-ago trip to Paris. Her name is Lizzie Borden, and two decades earlier she was acquitted of one of the most notorious crimes in American history. Although her stepmother warns her to stay away, Amanda has no patience for her father's doughy wife, and befriends their infamous neighbor. When tragedy strikes the seaside town, Miss Lizzie is the only one who can help. Amanda finds her stepmother hacked to pieces in her blood-soaked bed. The police suspect Miss Borden, but Amanda knows her new friend is innocent. As the township closes ranks, Miss Lizzie and Amanda hunt for the real killer. Guilty or innocent, Lizzie Borden does not go down without a fight.
A conversation with a jewel thief draws Croft into an insurance investigationIt is April in Santa Fe, and a blizzard draws near. Private investigator Joshua Croft sits bored in his office, hoping he'll get home in time to avoid the storm. Just before closing, a man enters, wearing jeans, a Stetson, and a hard-eyed squint that tells Croft he wears the outfit for work, not fashion. A friend of the cowboy's possesses of a haul of stolen jewels, and wants Croft's help selling them back to the insurance company. Croft humors the cowboy, fishing for information on the heist, but the stranger leaves without giving away the scheme. The next day, the cowboy is found stone-cold dead, riddled with bullets. The owners of the stolen jewels hire Croft to find their missing property. Along the way he dips deep into Santa Fe's underground, looking for the killers of the cowboy who came in from the cold.
A savage killer haunts the lecture tour of a vaunted Irish playwrightThough a world-renowned dandy, Oscar Wilde is not too refined for Colorado. As he travels across America on the lecture circuit, the famously witty playwright has found much to love about the western states. Whiskey, saloons, and friendly conversation with notables like John "Doc" Holliday--Wilde loves it all. There is even, in every town his entourage visits, a sensational murder. In the nights after Wilde gives his talks, a man with a knife goes lurking in the back alleys and red-light districts of these dusty western towns. Each morning, the police find the remains of a savagely murdered prostitute. Booze-addled detective Earl Grigsby is tracking the killer, and suspects Wilde may be the one with blood on his hands. If he ever wants to leave America, Wilde will have to use his wit to unmask the savage killer.