Murder In Red Rock Canyon by Sherry Derr-Wille

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Murder In Red Rock Canyon by Sherry Derr-Wille
Book 5: The Rhonda Pohs Murder Mystery Series
Publisher: Class Act Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (149 Pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Two days after being hired by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department Rhonda Pohs finds herself smack dab in the middle of a murder committed in Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas. Her investigation leads her to other murders in Nevada to say nothing of other states including her home state of Wisconsin.

To solve this mystery, Rhonda must dig deep into the history of the ancient Native Americans who left behind the petroglyphs and rock paintings that seem to draw this killer like a magnet.

With the help of her new partner Jenny Sims and her old partner Phil Mason, Rhonda is finally able to bring a mass murderer to justice.

Rhonda’s husband, Mark, has just accepted a new coaching position at an exclusive private high school in the Las Vegas area, and they are relocating. Rhonda is worried about her prospects, but soon after arriving in Las Vegas, she is hired by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. Before she officially begins her employment, she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

This is an exciting mystery where the bodies just keep piling up. Rhonda is severely tested by this case, having to prove herself the minute she is hired, with no break-in period. Red Rock Canyon is different in every way from Wisconsin where she worked in a small rural area. Rhonda proves that she is up to the task. She and her new partner, Jennifer Sims, work well together and Rhonda, because she had more experience, is assigned as the lead detective. However, she is very grateful for Jenny’s knowledge of the terrain.

While the story is exciting. However, the pacing is uneven, and I found the beginning, detailing Rhonda and Mark’s drive from Wisconsin to Las Vegas, to be slow. I also wondered how Rhonda managed to get weekends off in the middle of a high profile investigation. There was a lot more telling than showing, making it difficult for me to engage fully with the characters.

The information about petroglyphs was fascinating, and I was intrigued to discover just how many petroglyphs there are across the country. The geography in and around Red Rock Canyon provides for an interesting murder scene, as do some of the other areas mentioned in the story. The author also deals with various cultural stereotypes. Mark is the cook in their family, as well as an athletic coach, and he is very sympathetic to the rigors of Rhonda’s job, providing her with relaxing and romantic breaks. Rhonda and Jenny are not always well received as they perform their jobs in a male dominated field. And Native Americans are readily condemned, leaving Rhonda to find the real culprits.

Mystery fans who are interested in Native American history, particularly petroglyphs, will enjoy heading out to Red Rock Canyon on the trail of a murderer.

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