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    Review of A GRAVE AT GLORIETA by Michael Kilian


    Berkley Prime Crime, January 2003

    Confederate soldiers from Texas have invaded New Mexico seeking to open a new front in the American Civil War and the dream of a port not blockaded by the Union. Detective and spy Harrison Raines, a Virginian working for Pinkerton in the Union cause, travels to Texas to determine the threat and investigate what risk the southern sympathizers in New Mexico may offer. By the time he arrives, the Union has defeated the Texans at the Battle of Glorieta, thanks to the heroic efforts of Raines's contact, Almande y Cortes--but that Cortes has ben murdered. Now Raines must deal with murder, missing gold, and a mysterious group of New Mexicans who want neither the south nor the north in what they consider should still be a part of Mexico.

    Author Michael Kilian (see more reviews of novels by Kilian) does a fine job depicting the dust and wide open spaces of Texas and New Mexico. He offers a view of the Mexican American war and the war for Texas Independence that is quite different than that taught in American schools--wars that made Texas safe for slavery rather than for whatever democratic institutions the Texas rebels wished to pursue. At a time when the Mexican-American war was still fresh in many minds, this front of the U.S. civil war could only reopen old wounds.

    Harrison Raines is a richly detailed character. His sidekicks, Joseph Leahy and Tantou offer comic relief and considerable help staying alive in the dangerous countryside of the west. Kilian's device of having Raines at or near the scene in major civil war battles provides a nice dose of history in a well designed mystery. Fans of the civil war and mystery will find A GRAVE AT GLORIETA to be a keeper.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/16/03

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