Book Review: White Tombs by Christopher Valen

White Tombs
Christopher Valen
Conquill Press, 2008
ISBN 0980001722
Trade Paperback

Meet Detective John Santana of the St. Paul Police Department.  He is not a man you will soon forget.   Santana is a native of Colombia.  He left under a cloud and to this day fears that assassins will eventually find him even as far away as Minnesota.  Life was not easy on Santana when he arrived in the United States but he survived to become a respected detective in St. Paul.

Julio Perez is found shot to death in his home. Perez is the owner of El Dia, a monthly Hispanic newspaper in Stipule.   His rolodex was open to the name of Rafael Mendoza, an immigration attorney. After leaving the Perez residence, Santana and his partner pay a visit to Mendoza but they are too late.  The two arrive at the loft just as Rafael Mendoza falls to his death from his balcony.  Santana rushes to Mendoza’s loft and gives chase to a man running away.   Santana’s partner shots the man thinking he has pulled a gun.  The man who is shot and killed turns out to be an employee of El Dia.

When Mendoza’s loft is searched, files are discovered that point to a racket involving phony visa applications.  A sexually explicit photo of two unidentified men is also found hidden in the loft.

Santana begins to try to fit the puzzle together and figure out if the three deaths are connected.  Before Santana gets too deep into the investigation he is pulled from the case by his superior and James Kehoe is put in charge of the murder investigations.

Santana has little respect for Kehoe and his investigative abilities and at the risk of his job, he continues trying to put the pieces together on his own.   He even travels to Mexico at his own expense and without the knowledge of the department.

As the connections between the victims are established, the picture becomes clearer and clearer.  This reader was very surprised when the whole story was finally revealed.  The outcome of this investigation touched many lives.  The book is a great read and Santana is destined to become one of my favorite detectives.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, February 2008.