THIS SUMMER THE CHICHI RESORT OF Aspen is what the music moguls who cavort there might call hot with a bullet—or in this case, several of them. First, tourists visiting the Roaring Fork River find something not covered by their guidebooks—the body of crusading Argentine journalist Omar Quiroga. Then, his alluring companion, Dr. Graciela Rojas, is kidnapped. And that puts Sheriff Kurt Muller up to his beard in trouble—from the FBI; from plentiful suspects, including his oldest friend; and from his flaky ex-wife, mother of his cherished 5-year-old son, Lennon.
The good-humored Muller, still more hippie than lawman at heart, struggles to piece together the puzzle ahead of the increasingly antagonistic Feds in this, the first, mystery from former Aspen resident Zigal. As his hunt takes Muller through every stratum of Aspen society from the elite celebrity enclave of Starwood to the underbelly visitors never see, like the restaurant kitchens packed with illegals, many of the clues lead right back into his own troubled past. Wrestling with his demons and the equally elusive bad guys amid some spectacular scenery, the immensely likable sheriff is just the sort most of us would want to see on the job—and in more adventures like this one. (Delacorte, $19.95)