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The Burning Plain by Michael Nava
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The Burning Plain (1997)

by Michael Nava

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The darkest and bleakest novel in the series yet. Henry faces life after Josh's death. He stumbles into a web of intrigue, violence, deception and power. Caught between his grief and being accused of murder, Henry makes his way through darkness. This is not a happy book but it is Nava's most important plot, he doesn't cut corners, doesn't cheat on the bleak outcome. It's a hard read but a good one. Most definitely 3 1/2 stars. ( )
  writerlibrarian | Apr 7, 2013 |
Michael Nava's sixth Henry Rios mystery marks a change to a more philosophical style and even more involved plot. The likeable gay Chicano lawyer Henry Rios, still recovering from the recent loss of his lover Josh to AIDS, first becomes involved in what turns out to be a series of ever increasingly complex mysteries when he is asked to defend a young hustler. Infatuated with the young man Henry later unwisely spends the night with him, the next day the hustler is found brutally murdered.

Henry is inevitably arrested for the crime, but it turns out to be the first of a series of murders, and attention is diverted to another suspect. The suspect works for Hollywood's biggest film studio, and the studio's boss engages Henry's services to defend the suspect.

But Henry finds himself investigating in a something far more intricate, and soon realises that there a few that he can trust. With possible corruption and duplicity from within the police and the film industry, and maybe even among his friends, Henry finds himself walking a very narrow line, and with his life in danger.

The Burning Plain is surely Nava's best novel to date more detailed and descriptive, and a most involving read. Highly recommended. ( )
  Bembo | Jan 11, 2011 |
Tight thriller which makes you want to drop everything and just read. The stakes are extremely high and more than once I wanted to reach into the book and kick someone's ass! The problem? Well, the ending (and "resolution") is so shitty and depressing. The sadistic killer pretty much gets away (not really, but his punishment is slight), the raped kid goes to Jesus, and Josh's parents still hate Rios. One would think that Nava wanted to give us some kind of positive slant, but there's no redemption to be had. ( )
  -Eva- | Jun 17, 2009 |
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Book description
Gay Mexican-American lawyer Henry Rios successfully defends a young man accused of attempting to burglarize a movie director's house. When the man is found murdered, however, the case turns darker, and the terrain becomes a quicksand of blackmail, corruption, and lust which eventually threatens to engulf Rios himself.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0399143106, Hardcover)

Michael Nava has garnered critical and popular acclaim for his mystery stories featuring gay Mexican American detective/lawyer Henry Rios. In the 1996 The Death of Friends Rios's best friend was brutally murdered. In The Burning Plain, Rios, still recovering from his loss, has taken up with a young man who is also murdered shortly after leaving his home. The police are initially suspicious of Rios, a situation that grows increasingly serious for him after two more young men are killed. Nava is an expert at combining plot and atmosphere, suspense and politics. Like P. D. James and Caleb Carr, Nava beautifully and thoughtfully writes "thinking persons" mysteries. The Burning Plain is that rare book: a cunning mystery and a serious novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Still devastated by the death of Josh, Henry nonetheless falls for a young actor he successfully defended against burglary charges. When the young man is murdered after leaving Henry's house, Henry finds himself the target of a murder investigation. But the murders don't stop, and with his life in desperate danger, Henry follows the trail of evidence, ever upward to the top levels of Los Angeles politics and Hollywood power.… (more)

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