REX BURNS – Blood Line. Gabe Wager #10. Walker, hardcover, 1995. No paperback edition.

   And yet another hardboiled writer moves down publishers’ economic row. Walker is picking up some good writers, and I hope it pays off for them. Buns’ stories of the Denver policeman have gotten a good bit of critical acclaim,but evidently not the requisite sales.

   Gabe Wager has a 13 year-old black male dead in what looks like a gang killing, and a young cousin a victim of what he’s afraid is the same disease. To add to his problems, a convicted felon that he shot in self-defense has filed a civil suit against him from prison. Life’s never simple in the big city, especially for a Hispanic cop.

   This seems to me to be of a piece with Burns’ earlier Wager books — a good solid police novel. He does a nice job of blending characterization with the procedural, and of working in the Denver background. Wager has become a well-developed character over the course of the series. Denver must be a lot different than Dallas, though, if a police sergeant could have even a close friendship that was common knowledge with a lady councilperson.

   I think Burns does about as good a job as anyone of writing “small” nitty-gritty police novels, and I’m glad that someone will still buy them.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #19, May 1995.

       The Gabe Wager series —

1. The Alvarez Journal (1975)
2. The Farnsworth Score (1977)
3. Speak for the Dead (1978)
4. Angle of Attack (1979)
5. The Avenging Angel (1983)
6. Strip Search (1984)
7. Ground Money (1986)
8. The Killing Zone (1988)
9. Endangered Species (1993)
10. Blood Line (1995)
11. The Leaning Land (1997)