There is no doubt that the most controversial book Moonlight Mesa has published is “Death in the Desert,” by R.L. Coffield.
“Death in the Desert” is the third book in the Benjamin Thomas trilogy. And while it was the most controversial of the three books, the award-winning first book, “Northern Escape” was possibly the most popular. As for the second book in the series…well, it’s a long story, but it ends well.
Las Vegas Detective Ben Thomas, Alaska Game Warden Chole Littlebird, outlaw Roy Biers, and the duped, young Max Jessee are the main characters in the “Northern Escape,” which opens and closes in Las Vegas, but primarily takes place in Southeast Alaska. The crime? A two-million dollar heist from a casino in Las Vegas which leads Detective Ben Thomas to Alaska where he’s certain young Max Jessee has fled.
“Death in the Desert,” however, introduces the reader to a host of actual criminals whose names the author changed for obvious reasons. Besides Ben Thomas and Chole Littlebird, the author introduces a highly appealing new character, Jake Starr, a U.S. Marshall. In addition to finally solving the mystery that ends “Northern Escape,” “Death in the Desert” is one of the most revealing, brutal, masterful depictions of the criminal elements involved in the drug and human trafficking trade that occurs daily on the U.S. southern border. The book is definitely not for the queasy.
Leery, but trusting that the criminals “disguised” by name in the book would never read it, we went forward with publication. And now, with the southern border being overrun with illegal immigrants and criminals of the worst kind, we felt it was past time to give this “Death in the Desert” some serious attention.
As for the second, delayed, book in the series, “Northern Conspiracy,” we hesitated… Partly we did so because we felt “Death in the Desert” had to be out as soon as possible. However, there were a multitude of people who bought the first and third books and then would email asking if there was one missing…they felt they had missed something in jumping from book one to three. So…I acquiesced and we published “Northern Conspiracy. ” Upon reflection, I realized that while the characters become more “human” in this novel, the author’s villains are exceptionally crafty, evil, and devious.. I regretted delaying publication of the book.
So, if you want some good summer reads…the books are available on Amazon and are also available as ebooks. Enjoy!