A nefarious plot to kill off native species is just one of the cases a California Fish and Game officer must crack.
Lt. John Marquez is on the trail of Rider, a large-scale trafficker in live animals and animal parts who may be hiding in northern California or Oregon while he plies his lucrative business. An anonymous female caller offers a tip to the murders of two young women, friends of Marquez’s stepdaughter, who were brutally slain near the Klamath River while campaigning for dam removal. The caller claims that the murder weapon can be found buried near the White Salmon River, where the Condit Dam is about to be blown up. The gun is found before the area is flooded, but his involvement lands Marquez in trouble with Rich Voight, a homicide investigator who deems Marquez a person of interest in the murder case, and his boss, the politically ambitious sheriff who wants him arrested to generate publicity for his re-election. When a truck carrying fingerling fish overturns near the Sacramento River, the driver dies in the hospital and the fish are identified as northern pike, a rapacious species that would kill off the native salmon and trout. Marquez has been getting calls from Hauser, a scientist who works for ENTR, a corporation he claims is secretly raising the pike in a long-term effort to control Western water supplies. But Hauser can’t or won’t provide evidence. Marquez puts his life in danger by refusing to back away from investigating the old murder, the well-hidden hatcheries, and the secretive, coldhearted animal trader—all cases that may have links to past and present crimes.
Marquez’s fifth (Redback, 2011, etc.) is chillingly descriptive and packed with suspense, secrets, violence and nonstop action.