Even if you haven’t read a mystery novel since the Hardy Boys, give Rudolfo Anaya’s new book, Jemez Spring, a whirl.
All in one day, Sonny Baca, an
Albuquerque private investigator, works to solve the
governor’s murder at the Jemez Springs Bath House and
deactivate a nuclear bomb left in the Valles Caldera to blow up the
nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory. Oh, and he also fights his
nemesis, a shadowy creature named Raven, who may or may not be
behind these nefarious plots.
Layered on top of
Baca’s doings, Anaya weaves a story of political intrigue
involving water, development and power. Among the cast of
characters are: a developer seeking to privatize the waters of the
Rio Grande Valley; a band of "Green Indians" plotting a 1680-style
revolt against the developer and the politicians in his pocket; and
a corrupt Albuquerque mayor.
In the novel, Anaya laments
the loss of agricultural lands that have spawned million-dollar
adobes. It’s obvious that Anaya’s true love is the Rio
Grande: "A river by any name is an instrument of God," he writes.
And his novel often reads like a rebuke to those who support
unsustainable development: "In the end, the media could cry all it
wanted to about the great New Mexico conspiracy to privatize water,
and most citizens, not paying attention to the cry, would go on
using water as if the tap would never go dry." Here’s wishing
that part of the story were as fantastical as the rest of