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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    Sep 2015, 400 pages

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Donna Chavez
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Print Excerpt


"Let's change the subject, why don't we. What are you reading?"

She pressed her finger between the pages to hold her place as she closed the book and held it up so I could see the cover. Little Women, said the gold engraved lettering, and below: Louisa May Alcott. I made a long face and tilted my head. "Isn't this the third time you've read it?"

"Fourth," she said, opening it to where she left off. "I read it again in May, for Mrs. Wells's class. This trip makes four."

I bobbed my head, doing my best to ignore the roller-coaster ride that was this flight. "Four times. That's good. You must really love it, if you've read it four times."

The ceiling speakers hissed and spat and the pilot's voice came on: "We will be landing at Salt Lake Municipal Airport shortly. Those of you sitting on the right-hand side of the plane will marvel at the picturesque view of the city."

Sarah Jane nudged me. "Open the curtains, Dad."

"I'd rather not...."

"C'mon. Have a look. You'll feel better." She tipped her head at the window. "Go on. Do it."

With a trembling hand, I slid open the gray curtain and gazed out. It all appeared so small, that patchwork quilt of earth below, with a surprising number of green squares for a city at the desert's edge. Mountains hemmed in the valley like a fortress, except for the northwest corner, where the Oquirrh Mountains tapered off at the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Even from thousands of feet above the valley's southern end, the downtown and the granite spires of the Salt Lake Temple on the northern side were clearly visible. The sixteen-story Walker Bank Building dominated the skyline, with its towering radio antennae and WALKER BANK spelled out in tall electric-lit words. From this distance, I could even see the giant white U built on the side of Mount Van Cott, a symbol of the University of Utah, whose campus of columned, ivy-covered buildings nestled against the Wasatch Range nearby. The airplane dipped lower, its winged shadow swimming over farms and rural roads in the valley's middle. Wide streets intersected in a perfect grid originating from the downtown temple, a deliberate plan by Brigham Young and the early settlers of this place. Thanks to them, it is difficult-if not impossible-to get lost in Salt Lake City.

Parting those curtains worked wonders. The dread I experienced only minutes earlier eased. I uncoiled in my seat and loosened my hold on the armrests. The airplane still jumped about in the skies, but now that we hovered low over the city, it all seemed so much less perilous than before, perhaps because I knew my destination was right under me. Even though I grew up in the next valley to the south, Salt Lake City felt more like home than my actual hometown of American Fork. This is where I lived out my various roles as husband, father, police detective, and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Salt Lake City greeted me like an old friend. Salt Lake City, with streets so wide that back in pioneer times a team of four oxen pulling a covered wagon could make a U-turn with room to spare. Salt Lake City, home to ice cream parlors, movie palaces, and the most majestic state capitol building in the country, at the top of a hill overlooking the valley. Salt Lake City, where trolley bells rang like the heartbeat of a vibrant commercial center that a mere hundred years ago was uninhabited scrub. It all seemed so familiar, as if it were part of me, and I part of it.

"See?" said Sarah Jane.

"What?"

"I told you if you opened the curtains you'd feel better."

"You're right."

"I know I'm right." She smiled. "You think the firefighters have got all those blazes licked, Dad?"

I shook my head, craning my neck to get a better look at the swirling smoke clouds swallowing up the tops of the Wasatch Mountains. "Doesn't look like it."

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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