Winner of the 1975 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for best first novel, The Alvarez Journal (1975) established Rex Burns as a realistic writer with a spare and honest style. Without relying on violent action or bizarre characters, Burns shaped the police procedural into a novel that presents a convincing portrait of a man at work in a job that is both consuming and tedious. The realities of police work mean that building a case that will hold up in court may well be more difficult than discovering the identity of a criminal. The books featuring detective Gabriel Villanueva “Gabe” Wager, which Burns describes as “chapters” in a larger work, are noteworthy for the author’s skill in using indirection and accretion to reveal the depths of a character who is reserved, self-contained, and virtually inflexible. His Colorado settings expose a working-class Rocky Mountain West that tourists never see. In addition to the Edgar Award, Burns has been a three-time recipient of the Top Hand Award from the Colorado League of Authors.