Michael Nava

Michael Nava seems poised to take over Joseph Hansen's crown, particularly with the great reviews he has received for The Death of Friends, including a special recommendation from Borders. His detective, gay Hispanic attorney Henry Rios, is smart and sensitive and the books are well written.

The Little Death        

         Alyson 1986

This first book in the series introduces us to Henry Rios and the college town where he went to school. A friend of Henry's is murdered, and he digs deep into his friend's wealthy and influential family to find the killer. Good characterization and a standard plot that I figured out long before the end, but I still enjoyed it.

Goldenboy        

         Alyson 1988

Larry Ross, an old friend of Henry's who is dying of AIDS calls him to Los Angeles to defend a young gay man accused of murdering a homophobic co-worker. In the course of digging into the case, Henry meets his lover, Josh.

How Town        

          Harper & Row, 1990          Alyson 1988, 1996; Ballantine 1991

Henry has moved to LA to be close to Josh, who is HIV positive, but this case pulls him back to the small town in the agricultural valley outside San Francisco where he grew up. His sister asks him to defend the younger brother of a man he once loved, who is an admitted child molester. Henry fights his feelings about his family and his home town, a "little how town" in the words of e. e. cummings.

The Hidden Law        

         HarperCollins 1992         Ballantine 1994

Henry is asked to defend Michael Ruiz, a hot-tempered young teen accused of murdering State Senator Gus Pena. Henry pursues the case as his relationship with Josh deteriorates. Another step forward for Henry as we get to know him better.

The Death of Friends        

         Putnam 1996

Michael Nava seems to get better and better with each new book. The Death of Friends begins with an earthquake, a very LA way to start, and the novel is as much about the tremors running through Henry's life as it is about the mystery of who killed his law school friend, Judge Chris Chandler. Chandler, about to come out of the closet, leaves behind a grieving widow, an angry son and a scared lover. Henry pursues the truth while taking care of Josh, his former lover, now dying of AIDS. A strong, moving book, with an interesting mystery and a caring heart.

Finale : Short Stories of Mystery and Suspense        

This volume contains eight short stories, including one by Nava.

         Alyson 1997

The Burning Plain        

This novel has gotten some wonderful reviews. Henry Rios is recovering from his lover Josh's death, struggling to stay sober and maintain his law practice, when a prospective client dies and Henry becomes a suspect. The background is quite atmospheric-- Los Angeles is the "burning plain" of the title, and it is a dark, desperate backdrop to a beautifully written story.

         Berkley 1998     Bantam 1999

Rag and Bone        

The last in the Nava's Henry Rios series. Strong and beautifully written, though I'm feeling melancholy to know that there won't be another.

         Putnam 2001     

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