Published October, 2012

In the dusty little Central California city of Stevinson, a matador enters a bullfight arena to face twelve hundred pounds of muscle and fury. He engages the bull and leads it through his cape with grace and flair until his legs and arms go numb: he’s been drugged. When his paralyzed arms drop the cape, the bull rams a horn into his liver and that’s it for the matador. 

The killer didn’t mean for the man to die, but oh well. He wasn’t about to go to jail for it, though, so he tracks down the guy he paid to give the matador the spiked water, bashes him with a piece of rebar, and dumps him into a ditch. No witness, no jail. Imagine his surprise when his picture shows up in the paper later that week. Now he’s gotta kill someone else. 

Instead of attending the bullfight, the mayor of Stevinson, Manny Dutra, is negotiating with pot growers who want to grow their quasi-legal product in his city. He squeezes three hundred grand out of them, a nice “commission,” but he’s gotta get the ultra conservative and religious city council to approve the deal. He’ll get it done because he knows who’s been doing what behind closed doors. 

When one of the council figures out what he’s up to, Manny kills her to save the deal. As the week progresses, the cops are all over him and his constituents, hardworking religious Portuguese farmers and dairymen, are on his case because they can’t believe he wants to let someone grow drugs in their town. If he can just hold things together for six days he can collect his graft and split. 

Too bad for Manny and the matador’s killer, Detective Grant Starr is asked to assist the Sheriff’s Department solve the murders. 

Can Grant, his hot girlfriend and fellow detective Amber Whitehall, friend Detective Ralph Bensen, and Detective John McKay of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department bring the killers to justice? 

In his follow-up to the thrilling THE MIGHTY T, Powers takes his readers for a wild ride inside the close-knit Central California Portuguese community, with their religious festivals and bloodless bullfights. A world rich in tradition. DEATH OF A MATADOR. 


A thriller sure to please fans of John Sandford, Michael Connelly, and Nelson Demille. This is the second Grant Starr novel.

Early praise for DEATH OF A MATADOR:

“Powers delivers a page-turning police procedural with Death of a Matador, the latest thriller featuring Detective Grant Starr. The action takes place in—until now—a peaceful little dusty town in Central California. From the first page, the story plunges into the fascinating culture of the local Portuguese community, back-stabbing small-town politics, and the inner workings of a police department dealing with crimes related to current hot button issues: animal rights activism and the emerging corporate farming of medicinal marijuana.

“Powers is a natural storyteller and the dialogue is especially entertaining. You feel like you’re riding along with the detectives and officers listening in on their good natured ribbing, privy to personal and confidential conversations as they unriddle a sudden spate of murders and scramble to protect witnesses. The banter is rich with cultural lingo, convincing police jargon, and spot-on buddy-cop wit.

“I also enjoyed the vicarious excitement of wheeling Detective Starr’s 1970 Ferrari along a California highway at 120 mph with gorgeous Detective Amber Whitehall riding shotgun! :-)

“All in all, this story kept me flipping the pages with fully-formed characters, tight action and suspense, very little fluff, and a surprisingly exotic setting via the Portuguese community and their traditions. If you’re in the mood for a riveting detective thriller, I recommend it!”

— Joe Crubaugh, Author of the Cleo Matts Novels

“This is a great premise. A bull fighter is killed by an animal rights activist. The plot thickens when the mayor of the town is up to no good. I have been a fan of Powers since reading The Mighty T and was happy to see Grant and his team back for another mystery. There is much humor and interesting plot points and I was not disappointed in this second installment. Great read and that is no bull.”

Reggie Ridgeway, Author

“Death of a Matador is a story that starts off with a matador getting killed by a bull. I’ve seen a Portuguese bloodless bullfight so I know that while they’re dangerous, they’re not deadly. Especially for the bull.

“Anyway, an animal rights activist spiked a bottle of water, then paid someone to deliver the water to the matador. It wasn’t supposed to get him killed, but there was too much of the drug in the bottle. The killer has to kill again to try and cover his tracks.

“Detective Grant Starr is asked to assist on the case. His girlfriend and fellow detective Amber Whitehall and his best friend Ralph Bensen, also a detective, are also on the case. They were a great team in Powers’s other book, The Mighty T.

“Meanwhile, the mayor of Stevinson (the town I saw the bullfight in) has signed a deal to let a company grow medical marijuana inside Stevinson’s city limits. He tells the company that if they pay him a lot of money he'll make sure the city council passes the bill. The mayor’s name is Manny and he’s a very bad man. I won’t tell you what he does to try to make sure he gets his money, but it’s bad.

“I liked that Grant and his team, and the detective from the county, didn’t know they had two separate cases until the end. You the reader knows who did what, but you get to watch the cops figure it out. Most books keep you in the dark so it's nice to read something different once in a while.

“This book isn't like The Mighty T because big dams aren’t being blown up and the FBI and Homeland Security aren’t involved. But it’s just as well written and the characters are just as good. The dialogue is great, too. It's something that could really happen in the small town of Stevinson. (It’s a really small town!)”

— “Misty”, Amazon review

Did you know you can download samples of my eBooks, about the first thirty pages? If you’re unsure you’ll like my writing, try the sample pages first. All eBook retailers will let you do this; it’s just one of many great things I like about eBooks.