Excerpt from A Killing in Zion by Andrew Hunt, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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A Killing in Zion

An Art Oveson Mystery

by Andrew Hunt

A Killing in Zion by Andrew Hunt X
A Killing in Zion by Andrew Hunt
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  • Published:
    Sep 2015, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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I soon found out.

"Heck, Art, do you really think it's a good idea to put yourself in danger by going out there alone at night with all of them dang robberies happening?" asked the ersatz Roscoe. "You're gonna get yourself hurt or even killed if you insist on being so gol-durn pigheaded!"

Heck. Dang. Gol-durn. A trio of words I'd never heard Roscoe utter. His tastes were decidedly saltier when it came to expletives.

I chuckled softly as I listened to the performers read one melodramatic line after another, talking in a way we've never talked before. I must confess: The part of the show that really gave me the jitters was the exchange between the radio Art and the radio Clara. During it, I swiveled on my stool to glimpse Clara's radiant face and beautiful golden hair, styled in a permanent wave. She must've seen me, because she flashed a pearly smile in my direction before shifting her gaze back to the actors on stage.

"Oh, Arthur, please do be careful, darling," said the pretty, petite, and crimson-lipped actress playing Clara. "The thought of you being robbed by this treacherous criminal is more than I can bear. Remember, we have children, and I do not wish to be a widow!"

"I have to do my duty, dear," said Talbot. "You knew when you married me that you would be the wife of a policeman. Danger, I am afraid, goes hand in hand with the job."

"Oh, Arthur, kiss me!"

The radio Art and radio Clara refrained from kissing as the orchestra played. I think I spotted Clara winking at me in the darkness. In that instant, much to my relief, the Bromo-Seltzer advertisement interrupted the action.

I loosened my collar when it came time for the radio Art to confront the Running Board Bandit. Memories of that frightening encounter, on a crisp, chill fall night last year, came flooding back to me. The shock of a pistol's cold steel against my neck, the startling click of its hammer, so much louder when it is aimed at you-it all made my heart race, then and now.

Until that night, I'd only heard stories from others about Henry Grenache, the twenty-two-year-old unemployed miner whose purchase of a .38 caliber six-round revolver from a downtown pawnshop last summer set off a chain of late-night robberies around the Salt Lake Valley. The Running Board Bandit quickly became something of a local legend, a spooky story told around dinner tables and campfires. Such tales prompted even the most stout-hearted to check over their shoulders at night and made nervous teenagers rush home before curfew. When my brush with him finally came, it frightened me to the core, bringing me in touch with my own mortality in a way that few events up to that point had. How was I to know that night when I dashed inside the Brigham Street Pharmacy on South Temple and E Street to buy a bottle of milk and a Bit-O-Honey that he'd leap out of the bushes and crouch on the running board of my Oldsmobile with a loaded gun, awaiting my return? I didn't see his face when I got back in my car, only his silhouette and the glimmer of the weapon aimed at me from the other side of the glass. His voice was muffled. "Raise your hands where I can see 'em!" I did as he demanded and he opened the rear passenger-side door, slithered inside, and pressed the gun to the back of my neck. "One wrong move and I'll blow your brains out. Gimme your wallet. Now. Now!" Shaking, feeling cold steel next to my earlobe, I fumbled for my wallet and passed it to him over the seat. The crack of a heavy gun butt against the back of my head sent my face slamming against the steering wheel. I wasn't sure what hurt worse, the back of my head or the new cut on my lip. I was too frightened to make a fair assessment. But leaning over the steering wheel, I spied the tire iron poking out from under the seat. Grenache's voice told me he was distracted. "See what you've got in here ... Oh Christ, you're a..." I grabbed the long metal tool and swung it at him, connecting with his head. He screamed, toppled backward, and fired his gun. The bullet ripped through the car roof, and a ray of harvest moonlight poured in. A second later, I was aiming my sidearm at him as he rubbed the cut on his head. I switched on the interior globe to get a better look at him. The left side of his face was covered with blood, and greasy strands of hair dangled from the top of his head as he slumped back against the seat, moaning in terrible pain. The actors at the microphone brought me back to the here and now.

Excerpted from A Killing in Zion by Andrew Hunt. Copyright © 2015 by Andrew Hunt. Excerpted by permission of Minotaur Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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