Published on December 29, 2013 by Carol
Book title: The House of Three Murders:A Smoke Tree Mystery Series Novel
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Author: Gary George
The House of Three Murders is cursed! For over twenty five years it has squatted, abandoned and decaying, deep inside a dense mesquite and tamarisk thicket in the middle of the vast Mojave Desert.
The infamous house was the site of gruesome and bloody multiple murders. The murders have gradually passed into barely-remembered Mojave Desert legend, but the house remains, foreboding, forlorn and nearly forgotten.
Then, on a moonlight November night in 1960, five people are there at the same time. Well, four technically, because one of them has just died from a gunshot wound!
Three of the five are teenagers from the tiny, desert southwest town of Smoke Tree. They should be playing a significant role in an event important to their school and their town. But on a whim they decide not to go. Instead, they drive down a dusty dirt road deep into the Colorado River bottom to the House of Three Murders. Unaware there are two men inside, they burn it to the ground!
The fire leads to a series of events. Their lives spin out of control, and none of them will ever be the same. Nor will the life of the man who is alive. A young Native American of the Fort Mojave Band of Mojave Indians, he is bound hand and foot next to a dead man when the teenagers arrive. He escapes the fire and embarks on a life-changing adventure on a quest to discover his sumach ‘a hot, or special gift. He will not be happy with what he finds.
Johnny Quentin. Star quarterback. A superb athlete, but not the typical high school football jock. He is bright, perceptive, intuitive…and lonely. He lives unsupervised and almost unnoticed by a widowed father who has been mourning the death of his wife for six years. Because of that loneliness, he has one huge blind spot. He is hopelessly, foolishly, dangerously in love with a steady girlfriend who does not love him.
Judy McPhearson. Stunningly beautiful, but cruelly cold and selfish, she’s just passing time until she can get out of Smoke Tree and away from all the stupid people there, including Johnny Quentin.
Aeden Snow. Johnny’s best friend. A young man who finds himself slowly separating from his classmates for reasons he does not understand. He spends more and more of his time alone in the vast reaches of the Eastern Mojave.
The Native American:
Charlie Merriman. A young man who is culturally and emotionally bound to his tribe and the Colorado River Valley of the tri-state area, even though he has no opportunity there beyond mindless, back-breaking labor because of the small-town bigotry of Smoke Tree.
Lieutenant Carlos Caballo. Known to everyone up and down the Mojave Valley simply as Horse. The case lands in his lap. He will have to work in California, Arizona and Nevada to solve this puzzle.
5 stars. Vivid Scenes. Strong Characters. And a Compelling Story!
George has captured elements here that are unique to those remote, rural towns where escape is across miles of open country rather than city blocks, where a restrained tension smolders beneath the surface, and a connection to the land surrounding you is close and undeniable…The House of Three Murders is a terrific story told with clarity and yet, there is much under the surface. David J. Heslop, author of These Barren Hills
5 stars. Fascinating read.
Gary George brings to vivid life small town desert life utilizing colorful descriptions, familiar characters and a captivating crime story centered around a mysterious location. Guy Medly
5 stars. Enjoyable read with distinct characters
Anyone who has driven through the Mojave Desert from Barstow to Las Vegas or from Barstow to the Colorado River and thought of it as a vast, empty wasteland will be pleasantly surprised by this book’s revelation of the land’s rich diversity of history, plants, animals and distinct inhabitants. Larry Nixon