Another Colorado Kill, by Bob Doerr

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Fun, fun fun!

I read this book in one day -- so intrigued that I ignored phone calls and snapped at the delivery man who brought a QVC package to my door and maliciously rang the doorbell. In fact, I was so into Jim West and his mystery-packed sojourn in Colorado Springs that I forgot to eat lunch -- and trust me, that NEVER happens.

I had read one of author Bob Doerr's earlier Jim West novels, so I already loved the humble, likeable, and insightful protagonist. A retired OSI detective, Jim is as comfortable as a bathrobe and a cup of chai tea latte. But don't let that low-key charisma fool you. He always ends up in the thick of things and if you are going to solve a msytery, that's where you want to be if you are an armchair puzzler, like me. Knowing all these things, I saved Another Colorado Kill for a cold, cloudy day with no other plans.

So this morning, I curled up in my tempur-pedic with Rosie (my poodle) and tore open the envelope that brought this novel to me. The cover is deceptively lovely -- you KNOW the book is a mystery/thriller by the huge, blood-red title -- but there are mountains and blue skies and a shadowy lake. 

"Cool," I told Rosie. "A mystery and a vacation."

I opened the book and right off the bat, I knew that Jim's golf trip with buffoon-buddy Perry Mason (I kid you not) is going to go awry. I'm okay with that because, let's face it, dead bodies are a lot more exciting than eighteen holes of golf. Before long, Jim has met hot-mama police Lieutenant Michelle Prado and they hit if off  before the corpse in the john reaches room temperature. Jim is such a nice guy that I was rooting for him to get the girl -- any girl, but Lt. Prado seems to be his perfect match. She's smart, connected, witty -- and she has eyes that make West tingle. A good start, if you ask me.

The plot is as twisty as a piece of liquorice. There's a hospital maze, a kindly old woman named Doris, an exciting jeep toss, bodies dropping left and right, a mysterious black-helmeted motor cyclist with a gun, an eccentric waiter, a couple hot, a strange FBI agent wearing sunglasses inside the hotel, and a muscle-bound, sharp-eyed young forensics expert named Ollie. Then it REALLY gets exciting.

What makes a Bob Doerr novel so engaging is that we see the problem through Jim's trained eyes. We have all the same pieces of the puzzle, but Doerr makes sure that we don't figure it out too soon. He keeps us noodling along, matching our ability to sort through a spiralling array of facts, suggestions, images, and background clutter with Jim's. And -- in the end -- there's always a promise of more.

Another Colorado Kill is a guilty pleasure on the same level with the ID Channel and anything chocolately. 

Reviewed by: Joyce Faulkner (2012)

Author's Synopsis

Another Colorado Kill is the fourth book in the Jim West mystery/thriller series. In this fast paced story, Jim and friend Edward “Perry” Mason are in route to Colorado Springs to play some golf when they discover a dead body, an apparent murder victim, at a rest stop along the interstate highway. Perry’s stress levels hit the max during the subsequent police interview. He has a heart attack and the golf outing falls apart. 

When the police find two more murder victims the next day, both killed with the same weapon that killed the victim whom West had discovered the day before, and the female victim has his name written on a notepad in her purse, their focus on West intensifies. West explains that by chance both the female victim and he had eaten at the same restaurant, but at separate tables, the night before. She had been with two men at the restaurant and had left before he had a chance to talk to her. They had met a few times in the past, but weren’t close. A Sheriff’s deputy, Lieutenant Michelle Prado befriends West, and the two work together in an effort to find the real murderer. As their relationship develops, West finds himself physically attracted to her, but does she feel the same way? 

Soon an attempt is made on Jim’s life and he realizes that for some reason the killer, like the police, believes that West knows more about the killings than he has admitted. Jim finds himself playing “cat and mouse” with the killer while trying to convince the police that their focus on him is a waste of time and resources. 

When the FBI moves in to help out, the pressure to solve the case mounts. West and Lieutenant Prado discover the local murders may be connected to a larger, nationwide FBI investigation into organized crime and political corruption. West finally has permission to go home to Clovis and is about to leave when the killer shoots Ollie, a young female Deputy whom had become friends with West. The killer leaves her to die on a dirt road. The killer had gone too far. As Michelle leaves with Ollie’s crumpled body in her back seat, West picks up Ollie’s issued 9mm and heads off into the woods to track the killer. The time had come to stop the killings. If he can catch up with the killer, only one of them will return alive.