Move over, supercriminals. The sheriff of Cascade County, Oreg., is on the trail of Bigfoot.
When Paul Braithwaite is found dead in the wreck of his new Lexus, his head almost twisted from his body, there’s no dearth of suspects. The head of Paul Bunyan Logging had plenty of enemies among the local Native American population and the environmentalists who waged a destructive and sometimes violent campaign against his company. On top of that, he was rumored to have killed his first wife and was on his way to visit his mistress. Sheriff Jason Pruett, a former Portland police officer, is all for the quiet life, especially since he faces a re-election campaign against another former police officer. But it’s not a quiet time. The coroner, who’s sexually attracted to the sheriff, is surprised by the amount of brute strength it took to twist Braithwaite’s head off with just one hand. The stories the local paper runs suggesting that Bigfoot could be the culprit don’t exactly calm the waters. When a visiting Bigfoot expert dies, followed by one of the trouble-prone Wekerle brothers who work as loggers, Pruett would have a full-time job reassuring his jealous girlfriend and trying to keep the loggers, tribe members and environmentalists from killing each other, even if he weren’t trying to solve the crimes.
Newton, who has written scores of books in other genres (The Invisible Empire, 2001, etc.), introduces a solid character in Sheriff Pruett while neatly weaving the Bigfoot legend into a so-so murder mystery.