The Vinegaroon Murders

Quirky doesn’t even begin to describe THE VINEGAROON MURDERS , the dust-blown supernatural murder mystery that makes up volume two of JAMES A. MANGUM ’s Dos Cruces trilogy. For starters, the narrator is an angel, though decidedly not the stuff of Sunday school: Shyanne, a seraph, drops the F-bomb with alarming frequency and takes human form (the comely shape of German supermodel Claudia Schiffer, to be precise) to get a bartending gig. Then Mangum IDs the baddies who left a young couple dead on a West Texas ranch on page 33—a would-be plot spoiler of the first degree. And then there’s Jamey Maxwell, the retired customs agent pursuing the killers who hears the voice of God in his head. Mangum’s ultramoralistic bent can be wearing, but you’ve got to admire a cynic capable of imagining guardian angels as being like “every monster under the bed . . . rolled into one and on steroids, acid, and crack cocaine.” John M. Hardy Publishing, $19.95

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