By Minerva Koenig (Minotaur Books)
For those interested in suspense, South of Nowhere by Minerva Koenig is a great bedside mystery. Rehabilitated thief Julia Kalas is starting life afresh in a small town in Texas when she finds the remains of a dead man in a home she is remodeling. The presence of the murder victim thrusts Julia into the spotlight of local authorities, the press, and the head of the Witness Protection Program who has gone to great lengths to keep her safe. When her fledgy construction business stalls as a result of the discovery of the corpse, she decides to assist a private investigator in locating a missing person in exchange for a handsome fee. Julia did not anticipate the twists and turns that came with taking the job as the P.I. assistant nor is she amused by them. Instead of earning a hefty sum for what she perceived to be an easy assignment she finds herself pulled into a dangerous case that involves Mexican drug lords, shady surgeons, and a gang of Native American women with an ax to grind. Author Koenig’s lead character is suffering from PTSD and just when you think she’s conquered the affliction she gives into the ailment that has derailed her career and relationships on numerous occasions. Julia Kalas is a troubled character and that’s what makes this thriller unpredictable. Not only does the reader find themselves trying to solve the crime, but trying to get to the bottom of Julia’s personal struggles as well. South of Nowhere a whodunit wrapped in a mystery.