Pat Halley, reporter for the Fifth Estate. 1973
What becomes clear to the Steele and the state police early on is that Ms. Alverez, like many illegal immigrants, was virtually owned by a network of human traffickers in Michigan. Steele traces the dead woman's trail back to the Michigan Thumb where hundreds of aliens are smuggled from farm to farm where they are kept in near enslavement working off the debt owed to the smugglers who brought them to this country. It looks like Ms. Alverez was unwillingly assigned to work at a Traverse City bordello when she was killed.
Dave Vizard has written a tight and involving mystery that realistically portrays the terrible cost in human suffering illegal aliens will endure to improve their lives and the human predators who make their living off the suffering of those migrants who live outside the law. The author is a former newspaper reporter and he clearly hasn't lost his reporting skills as he clearly and professionally weaves the plight of illegal aliens within the narrative, yet leaves the impression with at least this reader that many farmers in the Thumb would have trouble operating their large farms without migrant help.
This is a very satisfying mystery featuring interesting and likable characters. The mystery touches on very topical and locally tender societal and legal issues, and although the death of Ms. Alverez is solved the greater issue of what to do about illegal aliens and their treatment both in and outside the law is obviously left unanswered. And like all good fiction, the reader is left confronting an issue that defies simple, morally correct solutions, and refuses to go away.
A Place for Murder by Dave Vizard. Independently published, 2018, $14.95.
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