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The Bitter Past

Bruce Borgos delivers a page-turner!

The brutal murder of an FBI agent leads Nevada Sheriff Porter Beck on an investigation with clues that lead not only to the present day but to the 1950s, in the early days of the nuclear age, when nuclear testing was done in Nevada during the height of the Cold War. In the 50s, a Russian spy infiltrated the nuclear testing site, and now someone is looking for that long-forgotten person.

I'm not exactly sure what I expected, but whatever it was, Borgos far exceeded it! This was brilliantly done! With elements of a murder mystery, police procedural, and Cold War espionage thriller, this is well-written and solidly plotted with an engrossing storyline. I could not put this down!

The dual timelines are skillfully woven together so that both are compelling and integral to the story and unfold to provide a thrilling investigation. Fast-paced and solidly plotted, this has clever dialogue, great characters, fantastic world-building, suspense, romance, and twists, mixed in with some interesting history. There was also quite a bit of humor, particularly in Porter's internal dialogue. Although he can sometimes be juvenile about his love interest, he mostly had me chuckling. Highly entertaining and just so good--I hope this becomes a series!

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press Minotaur Books, and the author for the opportunity to review this ARC. I enjoyed it!

My steep was Ceylon Ice black tea from Davidson's Organic Tea. A robust black tea perfect for iced tea.


In the tradition of Craig Johnson and C. J. Box, Bruce Borgos's The Bitter Past begins a compelling series set in the high desert of Nevada featuring Sheriff Porter Beck…

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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