Former sheriff Ray Pacheco, now retired, has decided to take up fishing to pass the time. Ignorant of the activity, he seeks help, and finds it in the guise of Big Jack, a bait shop owner and sometimes philosopher, and Tyee Chino, an Apache fishing guide who is drunk most of the time. Around the same time, a show dog shows up at Ray’s house, but its owner is missing. Anxious to return the dog to its owner, he goes looking for the missing woman. When corpses start turning up, Ray realizes that this is more than a simple missing persons case, and he enlists Big Jack and Chino in a quest that pits him against the local sheriff, the mayor, and the FBI.
Dog Gone Lies by Ted Clifton is the first book in a new series, but the character, Ray Pacheco was first introduced in an earlier book, when he helped bring down a crooked sheriff, so in actuality, this is a second book—but, let’s not quibble. The interplay between and among the characters, especially Ray, Chino, and Big Jack, and the subtle dance that goes on between Ray and Sue, a waitress at his favorite diner stand out for me as undeniably the best parts of the book. The action’s not bad, and Bruce, or Happy, as Ray calls him, even though he’s just a dog, is a scene stealer.
Small-town law enforcement and small-town culture form the backdrop for what promises to be an interesting series.
I give Clifton four stars for this one.