by E.E. "Doc" Murdock
E.E. Murdock dedicated "Who Owns Arizona?" to those who suffered and died when they got in the way of Manifest Destiny. Although the book has little to do with Manifest Destiny, it's littered with folks who suffered and died. Drew Steele, a San Francisco detective, is hired by John Rudd to go to Prescott, Arizona in search of a land grant from the King of Spain which deeds most of the Arizona Territory to the bearer of the grant.
It's shortly after the Civil War, and Drew Steele uses the medical knowledge he gained while serving as a volunteer in an army field hospital to save several lives, including his own. "Who Owns Arizona?" is the first of two Drew Steele Civil War Mysteries.
Although I wasn't too impressed with the plot's mystery, the adventure and suspense in dangerous situations had my heart pumping in several spots. The book is well-written. The characters are well-developed and easy to root for or despise, whichever's applicable. The author conveys a strong sense of place through his depiction of the Arizona landscape, the desert, the dust, the mountains, the mines, the cactus, and the isolated Western town.