There are 6 books written on Johnny Ortiz who is a half-breed ‘Apache’ American Indian. Those books are aptly titled - “The Johnny Ortiz Mysteries.” His mother came from the Apache Indian tribe & his father was a mix of Anglo & Spanish blood. The fifth book in the series called, “Missing Man” is set in a small town called Santo Cristo in New Mexico. It is implied throughout the novel that Johnny has American Indian visions because of his deep intuition plus he is the best ‘tracker’ in town. The paperback first edition of “Missing Man” was published by ‘Pocket Books’ in January of 1990.
According to the official website of ‘Amazon’ the synopsis of “Missing Man” is right here - “Richard Martin Stern's popular half-Apache detective Johnny Ortiz of the Santo Cristo police - is back investigating another sordid murder. A seemingly harmless bird-watcher is buried under a rock slide caused by a strategically placed explosive - and the only clues are an envelope of salacious photos belonging to the victim and a set of footprints. Johnny is as usual undaunted rejecting the open-and-shut case against a college professor with demolitions expertise and slowly reconstructing the crime with the aid of loyal friends and his ‘Apache’ instincts.”
I read the book in two days & the mystery held my interest completely because the policeman is a smart American Indian from the Apache Tribe. Johnny Ortiz is a compelling character because of his mixed blood heritage who always felt he was an outsider. Throughout the book he talks to his close friends using Spanish words every now & then. His girlfriend is also of mixed blood. Her name is Cassie & is part African American. They both understand each other on every level.
Santo Cristo is a small town where everybody knows everybody. The most interesting people are the political characters who always seem to have their dirty hands in everything. That includes the murder of a businessman who simply likes to study birds in the area. Nude photos were found in his suitcase & they belong to his wife which blows the investigation wide open. “Missing Man” is an excellent mystery novel.
- Murder in the Walls (1971)
- You Don't Need an Enemy (1972)
- Death in the Snow (1973)
- Tangled Murders (1989)
- Missing Man (1990)
- Interloper (1990)