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

Alisa Lynn Valdés: Hollow Beasts (Hardcover, 2023, Thomas & Mercer) 3 stars

After a long stint in academia, Jodi Luna leaves Boston for the wilds of New …

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 in a similar amount of time. If that.