A white supremacist and his crew threaten the sleepy serenity of a Mojave Desert community.
Bureau of Land Management officer Francisco Flynn finds two corpses in the desert on his day off. One belongs to an old ram long familiar to Frank that missed a canyon jump. The other belongs to a half-dressed man unfamiliar to Frank and possibly murdered. Debut novelist Sundstrand intersperses Frank’s casual investigation with scenes showing biker desperado Roy Miller cutting a violent swath through the area. While Frank lectures his friend Jan Rockford’s class at a community college, Roy sits in a bar learning about the death of his screw-up brother Donnie from his pothead brother Jason and his volatile buddy Hickey. The news sends him over the edge, and he busts up the bar. After Jan introduces Frank to reporter Linda Reyes, their relationship blossoms slowly and subtly as Frank, half-Irish and half-Paiute, shares with Linda his affinity for open desert spaces during a rugged climbing expedition. Roy and company, meanwhile, confront Calvin Bates, a gun dealer who’s into animal poaching and other illegal activities. Blaming Bates for Donnie’s death, Roy shoots him and his phalanx of guard dogs dead. When Roy and Frank finally meet, the tension is raised as high as the stakes.
The plot sometimes rambles, but Sundstrand writes beautifully, particularly about the unique beauty and life rhythms of the Southwest.