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!Free ♾ The Replacement Child ☨ Late on a Monday night, editor Lucy Newroe answers the phone in the Capital Tribune newsroom The caller is the notorious Scanner Lady an anonymous elderly tipster whose hobby is to phone the newspaper with gossip from her police scanner The old woman tells Lucy she heard two Santa Fe cops discussing a dead body But when Lucy checks out the tip, she discovers Scanner Lady has been killedShe tries to enlist the help of Detective Gil Montoya, but his mind is on another death He has just been handed the case of Melissa Baca, a seventh grade teacher whose body was thrown off the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge Over the course of the next few days, as Lucy and Gil hunt down the culprits in each murder, they discover their cases are intertwined in the most intimate waysRich with details of New Mexico and the people who live there, The Replacement Child is the perfect novel for anyone who has fallen in love with the Southwest that Tony Hillerman described so artfully in his Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee mysteries Not a terrible read at some points I wanted to stop reading it because I just feel like it kept dragging on and on and on and wouldn t get to the point But it eventually did and ended alright I rated it 3 stars because it wasn t my favorite to read, didn t really intrigue me that much but I still wanted to know how it ended. The author of this book is the winner of the first Tony Hillerman novel writing contest The story is rich with New Mexico landmarks and culture The first 40 50 pages were a little rough reading but once that was over the story ran on its own steam I could hardly wait to find out how the murders would be solved I would have given this book four stars, but I didn t like how Lucy, one of two main characters, was such a lush I recommend this as a change of pace book to read. This was the first Tony Hillerman Contest winner, and among the ones I have read, which is almost all of them by now, it is tied with one other for my favorite In quickly scanning some of the reviews on Goodreads, I found what I consider an excessive amount of criticism of the very things that make this book so good, in my opinion As a second generation New Mexico Anglo whose maternal family arrived in the 19th century, this book captures northern New Mexico Anglo and Hispanic culture better t This was the first Tony Hillerman Contest winner, and among the ones I have read, which is almost all of them by now, it is tied with one other for my favorite In quickly scanning some of the reviews on Goodreads, I found what I consider an excessive amount of criticism of the very things that make this book so good, in my opinion As a second generation New Mexico Anglo whose maternal family arrived in the 19th century, this book captures northern New Mexico Anglo and Hispanic culture better than just about any work of regional fiction I have read to date Barber s writing is all in the details, and there are so many, bringing the characters, the locations, the culture, the plot, into full focus throughout If one has spent much time in any or, as I have, in most of the major locations found in the story, through several decades or , with extended personal and professional networks in all, it is a thrilling experience to finally find a writer who can bring truth to life via fiction As a former reporter and editor myself in several states and decades, I found the depiction of that profession amazingly accurate, including her analysis of gender issues and depiction of the alcoholic laced subculture I always perceived us single women reporters and editors, especially in our younger years, as so stressed That stress often got expressed in unusual ways Lucy s OCD approach to reshelving items in stores was a new one for me, but in character with other expressions of stress I have witnessed, experienced or been privy to via confidences from peers Women in Lucy s position must appear so confident and steely, so in charge, few people know what courage it takes to present that image day in and day out given the shocks and trauma to the psyche the profession can and often does bring with almost cruel regularity Support from male peers is iffy at best, with rare exceptions if a gal is lucky, and women in positions of power in the profession remain too rare to describe patterns An Anglo woman living in the midst of Central and Northern New Mexico Hispanicsthan half a century, including family members, it is amazing to me how well a writer from Wisconsin captured all of us on paper When I was in college, we called this kind of writing New Journalism, being created at the time by Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesey and others who relied on in depth research and real people to create composite character situations that gave accurate portrayals of contemporary realities in the subcultures of our nation in the 1960s and 1970s No one did that for New Mexico though, until now I hope to see many, manynovels in this wonderful series that I have only just begun Barber even did a great job with the old lyrical Spanish given names found only in this part of the nation Kudos less A lot of characters to keep straight in the beginning, but I hope this is the first of a series It s a perfect mystery, in my mind You can t predict the ending, or any of the twists, but the wrap up isn t so farfetched you find yourself gnashing your teeth And I especially liked that it s set in Santa Fe and makes reference to places I know from my visits there Makes me want to go back Lots to like about the main characters Flawed, but not to the point of being unlikeable Not too slutty, A lot of characters to keep straight in the beginning, but I hope this is the first of a series It s a perfect mystery, in my mind You can t predict the ending, or any of the twists, but the wrap up isn t so farfetched you find yourself gnashing your teeth And I especially liked that it s set in Santa Fe and makes reference to places I know from my visits there Makes me want to go back Lots to like about the main characters Flawed, but not to the point of being unlikeable Not too slutty, no gratuitous cursing just so the author can drop an F bomb I can relate to their flaws An interesting story with some predictable but mildly surprising twists.Barber has many day to day life scenes for the major characters that, while they eventually tied into the plot, seemed overly long compared to their degree of relevance to it For most of the book, they read as if Barber had set to chronicle every moment of their lives, making this feellike a literary or slice of life novel than a mystery.Barber offers a good description of northern New Mexico, but never made the p An interesting story with some predictable but mildly surprising twists.Barber has many day to day life scenes for the major characters that, while they eventually tied into the plot, seemed overly long compared to their degree of relevance to it For most of the book, they read as if Barber had set to chronicle every moment of their lives, making this feellike a literary or slice of life novel than a mystery.Barber offers a good description of northern New Mexico, but never made the place come alive for me A truly great author can make me see a place as if I m there Barber delivered postcard images, nice but not the same as feeling as if I am there.Lucy Newroe, one of Barber s main characters, is a bit of a turn off The alcoholic or ex alcoholic main character is so common to mystery novels that it has become a clich Plus she comes across as self centered and a bit whiny Nothing about her made me care for her or about what happened to her.This book won the first Tony Hillerman Prize but nothing in it showed me how it earned that honor, unless other entries in competition were the mangiest of curs.Other books by this author will go on my only if I m desperate for a book to read list That s the best Ms Barber merits Best mystery I ve read in a long time Learned about New Mexico, too A win win. I gave it a couple chapters, even after the author s note at the front about mi hito being a northern New Mexico dialect as opposed to the Mexican mi hijo Mijito a shortening of mi hijito is a diminutive form and is used in Mexican Spanish so I was a bit put off right at the start Add in the main character s not liking women or having any women friends and her excessive drinking and I decided this one is just not for me. For anyone who judges a book by its cover, you may notice the medal stating that this book is the first winner of the Tony Hillerman award Although I have never personally read any of Hillerman s work, due to the vivid descriptions of the New Mexican landscape and the rich characters created by Ms Barber, The Replacement Child seems well deserving of the praise This book follows a clever albiet risk taking female reporter through a tale of crime, betrayal, and deceit set in the rugged South For anyone who judges a book by its cover, you may notice the medal stating that this book is the first winner of the Tony Hillerman award Although I have never personally read any of Hillerman s work, due to the vivid descriptions of the New Mexican landscape and the rich characters created by Ms Barber, The Replacement Child seems well deserving of the praise This book follows a clever albiet risk taking female reporter through a tale of crime, betrayal, and deceit set in the rugged Southwest With its rich cast of characters, a book like this draws out every emotion a mystery should shock, surprise, curiosity and yes even confusion Don t despair though everything comes together in the end if you stick with it All in all, this novel captures all the elements that the writer could have intended perhapsA truly Good read Good first book in a series The character Lucy will have to grow on me if she is part of the series, not very likable in my opinion There are lots of open ended stories to keep me reading the second in the series Good background on New Mexico I m not sure that I understood the affect the ending had on Lucy, a bit confusing to me.