Title: The Bisti Business (A BJ Vinson Mystery #2)
Author: Don Travis
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: 21st Mar, 2017
Genre(s): Mystery, Private investigator, Murder
Page Count: 310
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 0.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Although repulsed by his client, an overbearing, homophobic California wine mogul, confidential investigator B. J. Vinson agrees to search for Anthony Alfano’s missing son, Lando, and his traveling companion—strictly for the benefit of the young men. As BJ chases an orange Porsche Boxster all over New Mexico, he soon becomes aware he is not the only one looking for the distinctive car. Every time BJ finds a clue, someone has been there before him. He arrives in Taos just in time to see the car plunge into the 650-foot-deep Rio Grande Gorge. Has he failed in his mission?
Lando’s brother, Aggie, arrives to help with BJ’s investigation, but BJ isn’t sure he trusts Aggie’s motives. He seems to hold power in his father’s business and has a personal stake in his brother’s fate that goes beyond familial bonds. Together they follow the clues scattered across the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness area and learn the bloodshed didn’t end with the car crash. As they get closer to solving the mystery, BJ must decide whether finding Lando will rescue the young man or place him directly in the path of those who want to harm him.
I absolutely loved this mystery. I enjoyed reading the first book in this series but the second book was a huge improvement in every which way. BJ was brilliant here as he tries to solve a case which is much more sinister and violent than it really looks. I had fun following the investigation as the twists and turns kept me hooked till the very end. The gradual reveal of the ‘crime’ as the story progresses was perfect and brilliantly well paced. This book made me a lifelong fan of Don Travis’ mysteries.
In this book, BJ takes up a job to search for two missing boys. Lando and his companion, Dana are lovers and have taken an impromptu trip to New Mexico to take in the sights and the history before their next semester in college. But after a few days in the trip, both Lando and Dana go missing as they could not be reached by phones or by any other means. Lando’s overbearing and homophobic father, Anthony Alfano hires BJ to track down his son and bring him home safe. What should have been a simple case of tracking down the boys turns more and more complicated as BJ finds evidence of foul play.
Backtracking the pair’s movements turns up more questions. Were Lando and Dana simply on a road trip or was there more to it than that? With evidence turning up about a lover’s quarrel gone bad, a sinister character stalking the couple and a strong motive from Lando’s home front to do him harm, the missing case quickly escalates to murder as dead bodies surfaces. BJ has to find out Lando fast as he realizes Lando’s life is in grave danger. Armed with quick wit, incredible presence of mind and impressive investigative skills, BJ does his absolute best to not only save Lando but also uncover the truth behind it all.
I won’t go into more details about the plot coz I don’t want to give out any spoilers. The climax took me by surprise. There were hints as to who the main culprit is but the revelation regarding the motive behind the crime completely stunned me.
BJ in this book was absolutely fantastic. He was flawless in his investigation. I love his dedication towards his jobs and it was no different here. BJ is quick to avail resources and using them for optimum results. He goes beyond his duties as a PI to get to the ugly truth, which in this case saved lives as well as bring an absolutely horrendous evil character to justice.
I loved all the secondary characters here especially Jazz who was an absolute gem to the investigation. That guy had a lot going on for him besides his exceptionally captivating looks. He comes off at the start as a flirt and a trouble maker but he turns out to be a very reliable asset to BJ in finding Lando and keeping him safe.
Don Travis’ writing really pulled me into this mystery and did not let me go until I read the very last sentence. It was descriptive but also to the point when required. The investigation was powerful with every nuance very well thought out and executed. From small clues to huge leads, BJ plows through them steadily to reach the truth and what a ride it turned out to be. The various clues were all neatly tied together at the end for a very satisfying ‘mystery/thriller’ experience.
As for the setting, once again the author captures the beautiful and alluring essence of New Mexico. From the Rio Grande Gorge to the Bisti Badlans, I loved the descriptions of the naturally rich and mysterious landscapes of New Mexico. It made the reading experience much more vivid and enjoyable.
If you are looking for a solid murder mystery while experiencing the natural wonders that New Mexico has to offer, look no further. With a brilliant plot, intriguing characters and our very own ‘Confidential investigator’ B.J Vinson at the helm, this book is going to plunge you into an engaging chase to unravel the ultimate mystery.