Review of The Bitter Past by Bruce Borgos #TheBitterPastBook @StMartinsPress @BruceBorgos

A homerun of intrigue, history, and mystery.

Blurb: Porter Beck is the sheriff in the high desert of Nevada, north of Las Vegas. Born and raised there, he left to join the Army, where he worked in Intelligence, deep in the shadows in far off places. Now he’s back home, doing the same lawman’s job his father once did, before his father started to develop dementia. All is relatively quiet in this corner of the world, until an old, retired FBI agent is found killed. He was brutally tortured before he was killed and clues at the scene point to a mystery dating back to the early days of the nuclear age. If that wasn’t strange enough, a current FBI agent shows up to help Beck’s investigation.

In a case that unfolds in the past (the 1950s) and the present, it seems that a Russian spy infiltrated the nuclear testing site and now someone is looking for that long-ago, all-but forgotten person, who holds the key to what happened then and to the deadly goings on now.

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The Bitter Past, the first in a new series, involves new Sheriff, Porter Beck, a lifelong resident of this small Utah town, except for a stint in the Army. He is dealing with the merging of two departments and mixed feelings arising from that when the badly mutilated body of a former FBI agent is found. While the agent had retired, it was obvious he hadn’t given up a case that obsessed him. When a non-local FBI agent arrives, Beck realizes that there is more going on than just the death of a former FBI employee. Interwoven with the current mystery is the story of Freddie Meyer, not his real name, who is a Soviet spy sent to obtain information about the heavily guarded and secretive Area 51 and the atomic testing going on there. The Bitter Past merges the past and the present in a thrilling, very page-turning, mystery.

I am a sucker for a well written mystery, but when you throw in a chunk of history that I’m ignorant of, I am one happy camper. Although I do have to say that my elation at learning new history in this case was tempered by the fact that it concerned unsavory dealings by the US government–which seems to be an ever-growing list. In this case, the alarming misdeed was knowingly subjecting people and animals to nuclear fall out to see what the consequences would be. Before I start a tangential ranting, I’ll stop right there.

The Bitter Past is well written with multi-faceted and interesting characters. Porter Beck is a well-thought-out and fascinating character who I would happily read about in future installments. His previous career in Army intelligence adds a significant layer to the story. As well, the secondary characters add appeal and quirk.

While knowing “who-did-it” is always half or more of the fun, the how-are-you-doing-to-catch-him in this instance was equally fun.

A good read.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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