Book Critique -
The Black Minute by Christopher Valen
Patricia Reid
I share my love of reading with my two daughters and my granddaughter. One daughter loves romance, the other loves mystery and my granddaughter, twenty-one, reads a variety of books. Reviewing books has introduced me to many authors that are new to me. When I read a book to review and enjoy it I usually try to obtain other books by that author. I work part-time and my main interest is reading. 
By Patricia Reid
Published on 11/11/2009
Detective John Santana, introduced in Valen's novel "White Tombs", is back with another exciting investigation.

The Black Minute by Christopher Valen

The Black Minute-5 Stars

Christopher Valen

North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., 2009, 292 Pages

ISBN No. 13-978-0-87839-332-9



Detective John Santana of the St. Paul Police Department escaped from Columbia and the fear is still in his mind that one day assassins will find him.  His sleep is often disturbed by dreams and nightmares.  He sometimes has the feeling that the nightmares become more vivid as he gets close to solving a case. 


When a beautiful young Hmong woman is found dead it seems that this will be a simple case to solve.  As Santana proceeds with his investigation he finds that the case is anything but simple.  The girl’s name is Mai Yang and she is identified as a prostitute. Santana learns that she is the daughter of General Yang, a prominent Hmong political figure.


Mai Yang’s death is not the only one Santana is investigating.  Soon Santana has several bodies to deal with and must decide if the deaths are the result of one murderer or a matter of revenge.


 Grace Chandler discovered the body of Mai Yang.  When Santana interviews Grace, he discovers that she is the daughter of another prominent political figure, David Chandler.  Santana is attracted to Grace and the feeling is mutual.   The relationship is on rocky ground before it begins because Santana is forced to investigate Grace’s family as well as incidents in her past.


John Santana was introduced in Christopher Valen’s first book “White Tombs”.  This second book is just as exciting as the first and one that keeps the reader guessing right up to the final page. Either book can be read as a stand-alone but I hope Valen brings us more stories involving Detective Santana.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

Book Provided by Karen Villanueva Author Services