Moonshine Mesa

Fiction - Action
300 Pages
Reviewed on 10/21/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

In Moonshine Mesa by A.W. Baldwin, seeking justice for his younger sister's death from a fentanyl overdose, Parker Barnes shifted careers and joined a property management company under Betty Coulter. Now, sent to replace the pressure gauges at a remote station in Cedar Flute ruins along with his partner Dom, Parker discovers anomalies that hint at a deeper conspiracy. When Dom is unexpectedly murdered, Parker is rescued by a reclusive moonshine-making loner named Relic. Meanwhile, bees, crows, and a university professor have mysteriously died at Cedar Flute ruins. After Parker and Relic inadvertently save the life of headstrong Deputy Dawson, who is investigating the case, they must find a way to catch the culprits and bring them to justice before the people pulling the strings flee the country.

Moonshine Mesa is a sleuth murder mystery, crime-drama thriller, and action novel all rolled into one page-turner. With some generous use of dry humor, A.W. Baldwin delivers a suspenseful novel that entertains you until the end. The plotting is intricate, and the narrative has a brisk pace that refuses to slow down for a second. Baldwin's witty dialogue and humor make for an enjoyable reading experience, enhanced by the vibrant characters whose personalities leap off the pages. I especially loved it when Deputy Dawson briefly joined the duo of Parker and Relic, creating a fascinating dynamic between the three. If you enjoy crime capers, dry humor, and quirky characters, you won't go wrong with Moonshine Mesa.

Doreen Chombu

The mysterious deaths of bees, birds, and an archeology professor puzzle Relic, a recluse who roams the Canyonlands National Park. He does not know that Deputy Dawson, the man investigating the professor’s death, is after him because he is the main suspect. Meanwhile, Parker, a man who started work as an intern at a law firm, is being hunted down by gunmen when Relic saves his life. Parker does not understand why they are after him, but with the new information he receives from Relic, the two strangers try to solve the mystery of the gunmen and the deaths. Get a copy of Moonshine Mesa by A.W. Baldwin and join these three men on their quest for answers.

Moonshine Mesa is a fast-paced and entertaining tale. The story combines comedy, drama, action, suspense, and witty characters. I love reading books with clever characters. Everyone was making smart moves in this story, whether it was the good guys or the villains. I loved getting to know the characters and their motives. A.W. Baldwin provided unique details about each character, such as Parker’s family tragedy, Relic’s love for nature, and Betty consistently checking her makeup. These details made the characters memorable and made the story intriguing. I could not wait to see what each character would do next. Parker’s near-death experiences had me on the edge of my seat. Dawson’s determination to arrest Relic was formidable, and then it turned into pure comedy. The story also addresses serious issues about environmentalal protection and human greed. I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to anyone who loves mystery novels with a dose of action, suspense, and comedy.

Asher Syed

Moonshine Mesa by A.W. Baldwin is an introspective suspense novel involving Relic, a man of Hopi and Scottish heritage, and Parker, a property manager in the depths of a personal tragedy. When Relic discovers a corpse near the Cedar Flute ruins on the Colorado Plateau, it sets off a chain of events involving an archaeological investigation and a confrontation with academics. As this is happening, Parker is sent to Moonshine Mesa, a disused oil field in Utah, and tasked with an assignment that relates to its pressure gauges. As the story unfolds their paths cross, leading to a deeper understanding of the mysteries surrounding these locations, historic ruins, and links to the past, and a series of events affecting multiple characters, including a sheriff, a lawyer, and an entire ecosystem.

I love an action and suspense story that paces itself at a near sprint, and author A.W. Baldwin achieves exactly this in Moonshine Mesa. From the word go there isn't any question that the combination of the history of America's indigenous past and the contemporary outlook of those who inhabit the land now would lend to the overriding mystery of the story. Baldwin makes this book so many different things. It is an action mystery, but it is also eco-fiction with a heavy dose of ancient wisdom that ties it all together. Relic, who is perfectly named, is a character that a reader can get on board with and I could absolutely see him in a fully-fleshed-out series. Parker is equally intriguing and the dichotomy of both men together in a quasi-buddy cop pairing is exceptional. The book might not be huge but it certainly packs a mighty punch and I look forward to seeing what Baldwin has planned next.