by Marilyn Victor and
Michael Allen Mallory
A 2010 Gale/Cenage release
Hard cover, 297 pages
“Snake” Jones, a roaming geologist for the Minnesota Zoo has her film crew up north at the Minnesota Wolf Institute. Her friend Gina Brown, a staff member at the Institute, welcomes her for a little girl-girl re-connection. Snake’s scouting mission and their reunion are rudely interrupted by the discovery of the carcasses of four murdered wolves. DNR and the Wolf Institute set out to find the killer or killers with Snake involved. Their efforts are disrupted the next day when a cranky local citizen, Ivar Bjorklund is found shot to death next to the school bus he drove. A leafy twig clutched in his dead hand may be a clue to his killer.
Complicating the dual investigations into the wolf killings and that of Bjorklund are the surreptitious efforts of what appears to be a seriously radical group of unknown individuals called Save Our Superior or SOS. As the investigations proceed in the dense north woods of Minnesota, Snake comes to worry more and more about her friend Gina who appears to be going off the deep end in her expressed anger and even hatred at whoever was responsible for the death of the wolves.
Soon, of course, Snake finds herself the target of dark and mysterious forces of evil. This second book in what looks to be an ongoing series of environmentally issue focused novels of crime fiction, is well laid out. Crucial information is presented in bits nicely timed to peak readers’ interest.
Though there are times when it appears the authors have never met a metaphor they didn’t like, it’s a small price to pay for this fine story. The novel is well written and peopled with several interesting and unusual characters. While the writing styles of the two authors may be different, the novel is seamlessly blended so it’s impossible to discern who wrote what, or any real difference in style or vocabulary. I am confident this writing duo can have a long and fruitful collaboration and will find a loyal and growing audience.