Morrow, Oct 2004, 23.95, 365 pp.
California Department of Fish & Game Special Operations Chief Lieutenant John Marquez and his undercover team investigate poachers who are using torturous devices to capture and slaughter bears to sell body parts to healers. The violators are organized, professional, and one step ahead of the game wardens because they hacked into the law enforcement computers. No one interferes with this shadowy group's lucrative business and if threatening the wardens and their families fails, murder will follow and may have already occurred.
Meanwhile as he struggles to do his job without endangering his loved ones, John investigates disgraced game warden, Bill Petroni at the same time that homicide detective Jack Kendal suspects Bill of murder of a camper last year. The link is Bill's live in lover Sophie Broussard, who has ties to bear poaching and other illegal activities. Could Bill have provided insider information to a deadly group intent on making their profits the envy of the Fortune 500 firms?
The picturesque Northern California Mountains come across as sinister and dangerous as any urban noir scene.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner