There are 6 books written on a half-breed Apache Indian policeman named Johnny Ortiz. Those books are titled, ‘The Johnny Ortiz Mysteries’ & they are set in the state of New Mexico in a small town called ‘Santo Cristo.’ They were written by Richard Martin Stern who passed away back in the year of 2001. Johnny’s mother descends from the Apache Indian tribe. His father is only known to be part Anglo & Spanish. His parents are never mentioned in the novels. At least Johnny never talks about them. Only that he was raised as an Apache who becomes an excellent ‘tracker.’ “Tangled Murders” is the 4th book in this series where Johnny is a Lieutenant policeman.
According to ‘Google Books’ the synopsis of “Tangled Murders” is right here - “The peace of Santo Cristo - a sleepy New Mexican town - was shattered by the brutal murder of Charlie Harrington. Young - wealthy - a genius with computers - Charlie had hurt a lot of people and made a lot of enemies. In fact, Lt. Johnny Oritz has a big problem: too many suspects.”
I like to read out of sequence. I enjoy being surprised by the writing concerning the main characters in the book series. There is a running joke throughout the book about Johnny & his Apache lineage. The people who know him believe that he has tribal spiritual 'visions.' Maybe that’s why he takes walks all the time to see, listen & contemplate what might happen next. Sooner or later many of the so-called suspects who are questioned by Johnny are afraid of “That Indian!” There is a spiritual myth surrounding our main character the author deliberately wrote in the book pages. Johnny is a mystery as much as the homicides he tries to solve.
“Tangled Murders” was written in 1988 & published by ‘Pocket Books.’ The author is quite bold when it comes to sexuality as he writes about female Lesbians in a very small town. Johnny has seen a lot in his life & he certainly wasn’t going to judge others based on sexual preferences. He has two murders to solve where Lesbians are involved. - The stakes are raised when Johnny’s girlfriend is held hostage in Mexico. - The town’s elected congressman uses his power to bring in the FBI. - A commodities broker owns an art gallery which might be involved with illegal drugs being transported through New Mexico. I certainly was on-the-edge of my seat reading this good mystery novel.
- Murder in the Walls (1971)
- You Don't Need an Enemy (1972)
- Death in the Snow (1973)
- Tangled Murders (1988)
- Missing Man (1990)
- Interloper (1990)