Authors Speak: Havill Talks About N.M. Police Mysteries

Steven F Havill. Courtesy/MPL

MPL News:

Steven F. Havill is the guest author at the July Authors Speak Series reading and talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24 in the upstairs rotunda at Mesa Public Library.

Havill is an American author of mysteries and westerns. Havill lives in Datil, N.M. with his wife Kathleen. He has written two series of police procedurals set in the fictional Posadas County, N.M.; along with other works.

From Heartshot, the first Posadas County mysteries novel from Steven F. Havill, through Night Zone, the most recent, sheriff Bill Gastner has been a common thread in these compelling mysteries, first as a newly elected sheriff, eventually as the retired sheriff of Posadas County.

Cover of ‘Heartshot’ by Steven F. Havill. Courtesy/MPL

“Bill Gastner is widowed, his kids are grown and gone,” Havill said. “A chronic insomniac, he rattles around his empty house, eats too much and smokes too much. The one thing he genuinely cares about is the little town of Posadas, N.M. and its inhabitants.”

In a Publisher’s Weekly review, the reviewer writes, “As Havill’s stellar 19th Posadas County mystery (after 2012’s One Perfect Shot) shows, retired sheriff Bill Gastner can’t resist getting involved in law enforcement business. One quiet night, while Gastner, an insomniac, is stargazing on a mesa, he spots a distant fire, a pair of headlights driving away from the area, and an apparent power outage. After calling in the authorities, Gastner heads to the scene, where he finds a corpse and some wooden power-line supports chopped down.

The subsequent murder of a cop, who may have been trying to stop a man responsible for the damage, could be connected with plans for the construction of a new theme park centered on a huge radio telescope that’s being shipped to New Mexico from California. Some extremists view the project as a cover for intrusive government surveillance. Gastner’s capabilities are plausible for a septuagenarian, and Havill peoples the book with believable characters.”

Poisoned Pen Press publishes many of Havill’s mysteries. Visit their website at

The Los Alamos County Library system has a wide selection of Steven F. Havill books with 33 titles, including large print and audio CD.

The Authors Speak Series is a monthly event featuring local and statewide authors speaking about their writing on a variety of subjects such as local and state history, travel, outdoor activities, New Mexico fiction, Native American history and culture, poetry, and more. The series is funded by the Friends of the Los Alamos County Libraries. The mnthly talks are free and begin at 7 p.m., followed by the opportunity to meet the authors and enjoy refreshments. Some authors may participate with book sales and signings.