And the winner is (drum roll please) ..... White Tombs by Christopher Valen. If you are anything like I was, you may not have known what the Garcia Award was. This is an award given in conjunction with the national Reader Views Book Awards. Specifically this prize is awarded for the best fiction book of the year. For an author's debut novel, this is an extremely positive honor. This novel features a St Paul police detective called John Santana. (By the way, the author is already working on the second book in the series!!)
Here is a White Tombs teaser. When a prominent leader of St Paul's close-knit Hispanic community is murdered, Detective John Santana promises the widow he will bring down the killer. Despite the snow and bitter cold, the case heats up quickly-suspects are killed before they can be questioned; his alcoholic partner's trigger finger draws the attention of Internal Affairs; a sexually explicit photo of a murder victim surfaces in an unlikely place; a snow plow becomes a deadly weapon; and police brass threaten to pull Santana off the case. Hunted by an assassin out for revenge and haunted by his violent Colombian past and the younger sister he left behind, Santana's simple vow to a dead man's wife becomes an oath that could cost his life.
Talk about a loaded teaser. If you need more reason to read the book, let me tell you some of the things I found interesting about the book. First the author introduces an interesting character in John Santana. Throughout the book, we learn a little more about the person and his character as he investigates the murder and other leads. Also interesting is the investigation process used by Santana and how he reaches his leads. Finally, there is the Texas connection - ha ha!! Yeah - it was not a major part of the story - just a stop over - but I DO LIKE TEXAS.
If you are interesting in learning more about the author, check out his website - http://www.christophervalen.com/.