Hollow Beasts

, #1

Hardcover, 244 pages

English language

Published April 1, 2023 by Thomas & Mercer.

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3 stars (1 review)

After a long stint in academia, Jodi Luna leaves Boston for the wilds of New Mexico to start a new life as a game warden. Jodi is no stranger to the wilderness; her family has lived here for generations. Determined to protect her homeland, she nabs a poacher in her first week on the job.

But when he retaliates by stalking Jodi and her teenage daughter, a cat and mouse game leads Jodi to a white supremacist group deep in the mountains. She learns that new recruits are kidnapping women of color to prove their mettle to the organization’s leader.

When the local sheriff refuses to assist, Jodi joins up with young deputy Ashley Romero. Together, they set out to take down a terrorist network that will test not just their skills as investigators but also their knowledge of the land and commitment to its people.

But will Jodi’s fierce …

3 editions

reviewed Hollow Beasts by Alisa Lynn Valdés (Jodi Luna, #1)

Mustache twirling heavies and paper-thin heroes

3 stars

Picked this up because it was on the Washington Posts' best crime fiction of 2023 list. I definitely don't agree.

After the death of her husband, poet Jodi Luna moves back to New Mexico to become a game warden. Almost immediately she's pulled into a case where inexperienced white supremacists abduct Mexican girls and hold them captive in their desert plateau camp. They are, of course, super dumb, and Jodi is super competent. I like me some competence porn, but this doesn't feel like competence porn. Jodi does stuff like, dropping off a suspect in the hands of a lazy sheriff and go home and sleep when there's two body parts discovered. The heavies twirl their mustaches, and the good game warden just goes home because there's no story otherwise.

This could have been such a great story, but this feels like it was written in one NANOWRIMO and edited …