Utah attracts eco-terrorists, free-range ranchers and one very determined assassin.
Returning to his hometown of Kanab, Utah, as a ranger for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), former Denver cop J.D. Books catches a homicide on the first day of his new job. David Greenbriar, the force behind the Escalante Environmental Wilderness Alliance (EEWA), has been shot dead while returning from a hike on the Kaiparowitz Plateau, then strung up in a barn on an abandoned Western movie set. Don’t cry for his pretty young widow, who has a lover to console her and a former lover who got her pregnant several months ago. Was the homicide provoked by romance, or by Greenbriar’s obsession with stymieing road expansion in the southern Utah wilderness? Working with Sheriff Charley Sutter and Chief Deputy Brian Call, Books locates a sole witness, but not before someone inside the investigation leaks information that causes the witness to take a powder and a Vegas hit man to appear. More die. The mole is uncovered. Vegas mobsters make threats. Clearly Books and the assassin are on a collision course that will end with one of them wounded and the other one dead.
Too many dangling ends and melodramatic riffs to have the lean appeal of Norman’s neatly turned police procedurals (The Commission, 2007, etc.). But Books is a likable hero.