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In “Dead for the Last Time,” Larry Sterne is a free-spirited young fellow who comes back to his home town after his first year of college. He learns that an old pedophile has been found dead in an abandoned milk factory and some of his friends are suspected. Before long, one of the friends turns up dead as well. Set in the summer of 1967, this is a nice period piece as well as a genial murder mystery with a serious undertone. In “Trouble in the Labor Camp,” Morgan Cross is a field worker who follows the crops. He wants to move up in the world, and he knows that he has to stay out of trouble in order to do it. He meets Rosa Maria, a pretty girl whose family is staying in the same labor camp, but things get complicated by murder and tawdry sex. These two novellas continue the retro/noir style in which John D. Nesbitt has earned distinction. His depiction of farm work, migrant housing, and small-town life in California in the 1960's is superb.
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John D. Nesbitt is best known for his western novels and short stories, which have won many awards on the national level as well as on the regional level. More recently, he has distinguished himself in mystery/noir fiction, with publication in magazines, anthologies, and e-book publishers as well as with a national award for his short story "At the End of the Orchard." His historical, retro, and contemporary fiction has won him consistent praise for its realistic characterization, detail, and sense of place, as well as for its artistic sublety.
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