The Zozobra Incident (PIU’s Review)

The Zozobra Incident.Title: The Zozobra Incident (A BJ Vinson Mystery #1)
Author: Don Travis
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: 15th Nov, 2016
Genre(s): Mystery, Private investigator, Murder
Page Count: 290
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

B. J. Vinson is a former marine and ex-Albuquerque PD detective turned confidential investigator. Against his better judgment, BJ agrees to find the gay gigolo who was responsible for his breakup with prominent Albuquerque lawyer Del Dahlman and recover some racy photographs from the handsome bastard. The assignment should be fast and simple.

But it quickly becomes clear the hustler isn’t the one making the anonymous demands, and things turn deadly with a high-profile murder at the burning of Zozobra on the first night of the Santa Fe Fiesta. BJ’s search takes him through virtually every stratum of Albuquerque and Santa Fe society, both straight and gay. Before it is over, BJ is uncertain whether Paul Barton, the young man quickly insinuating himself in BJ’s life, is friend or foe. But he knows he’s stepped into something much more serious than a modest blackmail scheme. With Paul and BJ next on the killer’s list, BJ must find a way to put a stop to the death threats once and for all.

“The Zozobra Incident” is a very intriguing and fast paced mystery novel with loads of twists and turns. The main character in this book is the “Confidential Investigator” B.J Vince who finds himself in the middle of a far bigger and dangerous investigation than he has bargained for. There are car chases, murders, shooting and ruthless gangs mixed with a tentative romance to create a quite a fantastic mystery experience.

B.J Vinson takes up a case of retrieving some sensitive pictures of his ex-boyfriend, Del Dahlman. His search leads him to the hustler who was the main reason behind his breakup with Del. As time goes and Vinson chases down the person responsible for stealing the negatives from Emilio, the hustler, attempts are made on his life as well as Del. When bodies start to drop, Vinson finds himself in a deadly race to catch the bad guys before more people are killed. During all this mayhem, Vinson meets and falls for a young journalism student, Paul Burton. But as much as he likes Paul, there are things about him which makes him a likely suspect in the case he is working. B.J is determined to prove that Paul is not who they are thinking he is but will he be able to solve the case on time to save his life as well as his love??? Read to find out!!

The investigation process in this story is very nice and engaging. I loved Vinson. He was brash, efficient and a charmer when he wanted to be. His experiences as a military cop and then as a police officer gave him a unique talent to ferret out the ugly truth. His methods were effective and I had to hand it to him for always being so cool and in control of situations. I felt really bad when he had to reluctantly suspect Paul but the entire thing was part of the “mystery” so it could not be helped. Ultimately he does uncover the mystery and fix his personal life as well so there is a very satisfying ending waiting for the reader at the end.

The setting of the book is in the city of Albuquerque and its neighboring counties. The author describes the entire city dynamic very vividly and through B.J’s love for history, we learn a lot about the history of the culturally rich state of New Mexico. The entire event of “Zozobra” is described very nicely and I think it will inspire many a readers to experience the “Santa Fe Fiesta” for themselves.

The romance between Paul and Vinson is just a part of the plot which is not given much exposure. There are many times when they get physically intimate but all are off page. Paul’s character is used to heighten the entire mystery of the story. This book is not a romance so if you are looking for one, do not opt for this read.

This read has an intriguing and fast placed plot which will keep you hooked throughout. There are many likable secondary characters who plays significant roles in the story. Combine that with the setting, beautifully detailed writing and a solid mystery makes this novel a must read for any mystery lover.

A BJ Vinson Mystery

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Galley copy of The Zozobra Incident provided by DSP Publications in exchange of an honest review.