A Spotted Pony Casino Mystery: Book 1
Publication Date: July 1, 2021
Dela Alvaro is a disable veteran who grew up on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation. When an IED in Iraq ended her military career, she came home to reassess her life and landed a job in security at the Indian run casino on the reservation.
Not even a year into being the assistant to the head of security, the head of security is found working with a human trafficking ring and Dela is promoted on a trial basis. When one of the casino employees is found stabbed and stuffed in a laundry chute, she knows she can kiss head of security good-bye if she doesn’t find the killer before the media gets hold of the story.
While she is in over her head, she can’t decide if the FBI Special Agent called in to help is a blessing or a curse. It’s a man she ran across in Iraq who overrode her authority. When a second casino employee is killed, Dela has to decide if she can trust the special agent with not only keeping her job but keeping the rest of the casino employees safe.
Poker Face is the first book in the Spotted Casino Mystery series by Paty Jager, and it held my interest from the first page to the last. There are so many twists and turns to the story as I tried to figure out whodunnit.
With two murders, loads of suspects, casino security, and the FBI all piecing it together, various clues and conducting interviews. Several behind-the-scenes dramas took place at the casino with surveillance, security, IT, maintenance, and lots of employees. The local police take a backseat in this story since at least one of the murders occurs in the Indian-run casino located on their reservation.
Dela, ex-military and medically discharged, is the temporary head of security trying to secure the position. She grew up on the reservation with her mother, even though they’re not Native American. We learn about her injury and how she deals with it. Dela runs into her nemesis from her Army days, FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce, who works the case with her. They do have some heated moments, and not all due to their investigation.
Several stories are being told, not all related to the crimes committed, and Ms. Jager weaves them seamlessly together. We get to know Dela a little at a time, along with her mom, several friends, her dog, and her dreams. The story flows nicely, given there are crimes to be solved. The story comes to a nice conclusion with the criminals being caught but ended very abruptly. I do look forward to reading more books in this series. The cover definitely drew me in.
Ms. Jager is an author whose books I’ve enjoyed in the historical romance realm, and I look forward to reading more of her books.
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 51 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
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