I keep giving Susan Slater's Ben Pecos mysteries a try. They have approving blurbs from Tony Hillerman, after all. But after Thunderbird, and now this one, I have to conclude that she's just not good.
The characters are cardboard, the villains are identifiable ten pages in, and the mystery's solution consists of an Exposition Theater performance by said villains for someone they're about to kill. "Since you're going to die, let me tell you exactly what I've done!" The writing's unremarkable, and though this one constantly mentioned food, none of it was New Mexican food, and so I just do not get the point of that.
It's not the unfairness of reading this directly after Boyle, either. I happily sit down with Hillerman after reading Impressive Literature, all the time, and he doesn't suffer in comparison. Apples and oranges. But I'm not going to read any more books by Slater.
Next up: Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War, by Alexander Nemerov, which, by the third page, already features phrases like "instead I have aimed to treat that night's performance of Macbeth as a place, even as a Thing in Martin Heidegger's sense" and "the capacity of an aesthetic act to produce such an earth of self-secluding points". I may be in trouble.