Late on a Monday night, editor Lucy Newroe answers the phone in the Capital Tribune newsroom. The caller is the notorious Scanner Lady---an anonymous elderly tipster whose hobby is to phone the newspaper with gossip from her police scanner. The old woman tells Lucy she heard two Santa Fe cops discussing a dead body. But when Lucy checks out the tip, she discovers Scanner Lady has been killed. She tries to enlist the help of Detective Gil Montoya, but his mind is on another death. He has just been handed the case of Melissa Baca, a seventh-grade teacher whose body was thrown off the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Over the course of the next few days, as Lucy and Gil hunt down the culprits in each murder, they discover their cases are intertwined in the most intimate ways. Rich with details of New Mexico and the people who live there, The Replacement Child is the perfect novel for anyone who has fallen in love with the Southwest that Tony Hillerman described so artfully in his Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee mysteries.
Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.
Read the full excerpt
Isn’t it great when a new writer comes along and makes you sit up and take notice? Christine Barber does just that with The Replacement Child. Don’t miss it.”---Michael McGarrity, author of Nothing But Trouble“Smart, taut, psychologically convincing. Christine Barber has a sure hand with character and a strong sense of place. A fine choice for the first Tony Hillerman Prize.”---Susan Wittig Albert, author of Nightshade“In this excellent debut, newcomer Christine Barber weaves a heartbreaking mystery with the assured hand of an old pro. The Replacement Child has many charms: It’s a riveting procedural, a compassionate and perceptive study of human nature, and a wonderfully labyrinthine whodunit. But it’s the heart of this story that is the real charmer: the fascinating landscape of northern New Mexico and the tangle of cultures, old and new, that populate it. I guarantee that if you let Christine Barber take you there once, you’ll want to go back with her again.”---William Kent Krueger, author of Thunder Bay“The Replacement Child is a gripping story set against the deceptive calm of an ancient land in modern times. In northern New Mexico, lives and events are interconnected, and Christine Barber weaves a tale where nothing is irrelevant and no one is unimportant. Barber is a wonderful storyteller and her characters invite us into their hidden places, compelling us to turn the page.”---David Sundstrand, author of Shadow of the Raven“A spellbinding mystery wrapped simultaneously in the gorgeous landscape and in the dark, hidden recesses of the Southwest. I kept turning the pages and holding my breath for what might come next. I was never disappointed. The Replacement Child is that good.”---Margaret Coel, author of Blood Memory
Christine Barber is an award-winning journalist as well as a certified emergency medical technician and firefighter. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she is currently pursuing a career in medicine. She previously worked as an editor at the Santa Fe New Mexican and a journalist for the Albuquerque Journal and Gallup Independent. The Replacement Child is her first novel.