Book review: ‘The Angel of Shavano’ takes its bones from Salida cold case

“The Angel of Shavano,” a novel by Salida native Joe Reed, takes its bones from a real-life Salida cold case, the 1980 disappearance and death of Beverly England, a wife and mother of two.

Reed offers his own version of what might have happened in a fictional tale that shows the motivations of the parties involved in both sides of the mystery.

The story occasionally gets bogged down in description; however, the thought processes of the characters before, during and after the killing of Darcy Engle by Mary Alvarado is intriguing.

The book opens with the morning after and clean up of the evidence, so the reader knows what has occurred immediately, the rest is a flashback to what happened and why.

Readers who have a long association with Salida, will recognize local landmarks as the story progresses, and those who remember the England case may find a new theory to add to the speculation around the real-life case.

Author Reed is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was born in and spent time in Salida growing up. This is his first novel.

“The Angel of Shavano” retails for $11.99 and is available at The Book Haven, 109 N. F St. or at

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