Homicide in Bronze: A Kira Logan Mystery
by J.C. Andrew
Westwood Books Publishing

"There seemed no certainty about anything. I was convinced they should regard the situation as an attempted murder—of me. It wasn’t just an accident."

A seemingly celebratory occasion commemorating a hospital's founding family's achievements quickly transitions into a vengeful display featuring everything from sabotage, deceit, near-death experiences, and cold-blooded murder. Taking place in scenic Colinas Verde, New Mexico, the Medford family is nothing short of the town's crown jewel. Generations before, the Medford brothers founded a hospital and are now on the verge of having their sculptures installed at the hospital, permanently etching their legacies. Descendant Bill Medford commissions Kira Logan, a sculptor from Arizona, for the project. What ensues is a thrilling adventure predicated upon greed and alleged secrets, an inevitable collision between the Medfords and those who are adamant that the sculpture must not be built.

Many underlying themes and an expansive cast of characters keep the plot flowing. The warning letter Logan receives even before leaving for New Mexico confirms something is amiss. When she reaches the Medfords, her dinner invititation turns into a colossal family drama session that is sure to resonate with audiences. Bill Medford, the family patriarch, continues the spirit of medicine through his medical supply business. However, true feelings come out in the dinner when his son, Stan, demands that his father not sanction the sculpture's construction for fear his inheritance will be diminished. Dee, the youngest, is concerned about living a comfortable life as well. In many ways, the Medford family is the prototypical successful family. On the surface, they have achieved great heights with a son running the family business and a renowned status in their town. Nevertheless, digging deeper, cracks exist. At twenty-two, Stan is frustrated with his mundane life running the store—High Desert Medical. He is looking for a way out, but when the opportunity comes in the form of his sister moving closer and brother-in-law taking the reins of the business, Stan feels slighted. Like many families, Celli, the mother, acts as the mediator between the children and Bill.

To think that two sculptures could elicit such a fracture between the characters is remarkable. While the Medford family deals with its issues, Roselyn Mercado is hellbent on ensuring that the project doesn't see the light of day. The tug-of-war begins with Roselyn and Dee conspiring together, then forming partnerships and befriending individuals who would give them direct access to Killian Metal—the foundry where the sculpture is being brought to fruition. Whether it is the newspaper or Logan herself, Roselyn stops at nothing to make sure the story of her great grandmother, Elena Martinez, is brought to light. Having worked in the hospital with the Medford doctors generations before, Elena died during childbirth, with Roselyn firmly believing that one of the Medford doctors was the baby's father. This fuels a fire that continues to burn fiercely until the end, resulting in wild twists and turns that imbue the work with nonstop energy.

While a deeper probe into many of the characters would have been welcome, the narrative is unquestionably plot-driven. Focusing on storytelling, Andrew's tale never loses steam. It deftly incorporates numerous storylines from Dee's relationship with another pivotal character (the motorcycle loving Marco Vieria) to a foundry worker, Rusty Crocker, which results in her falling into a romantic trap set by the conniving Roselyn. Needless to say, the plot is never stagnant. Overall, what makes the narrative intriguing is the presence of a strong antagonist who genuinely believes her actions are driven in good faith by her need to shed light on a decades-old secret that, if true, will surely rock the small town of Colinas Verde. With a free-flowing plotline that features premeditated car crashes and explosions, the narrative never lacks energy and makes for a fun, action-packed read.

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