Book Review: Devil’s Kitchen by Clark Lohr

Devil's KitchenDevil’s Kitchen
Clark Lohr
Oak Tree Press, June 2011
ISBN 978-1-61009-012-4
Trade Paperback

The discovery of a severed head in the Tucson landfill draws Pima County Sheriff’s deputy Manny Aguilar into a case pitting a Mexican drug lord and a less than ethical land developer into what almost becomes a war. Murder, kidnapping, and drugs fuel a power struggle between factions. Manny’s going to have a real fight on his hands to bring these powerful people to justice—as long as they don’t (and it’s not for a lack of trying) kill him first. Things turn grim when he discovers half the men in the sheriff’s department are working for the other side.

Lohr has created an interesting character in Manny Aguilar, a half Yaqui, half Latino detective who relies on his Yaqui grandmother’s witchery for help in solving the case. Indispensable at watching his back is his girlfriend, a fiery redhead named Reina who showers him with great sex. He’s beginning to think he can’t manage without her.

The plot is full of twists and turns. The writing is sharp and crisp. Characterization is spot on, while the action keeps the pages turning. The insertion of a side plot involving Southwestern ecology and water problems makes the novel as a whole seem fresh and new. Lots of surprises here. Enough to make you hope the wait for the next Manny Aguilar novel is not long in coming.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, June 2014.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.