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A second case (following Telluride Smile, 1988, not reviewed) for former Fish & Wildlife man Henry Dyer, now living on 40 acres hard by the Coyote Mountains and scratching out a living handling private wildlife investigations, like the one indomitable Edwina Garrett hired him for--to find out who's poaching her peregrines. Henry tags Artie Johnson, whose throat is then cut by either his hustling woman Lupe or Reed One and Reed Two, the local bruise brothers. The more Henry investigates, the mom his ex-lover Allison's new boyfriend, Bruce Cady, seems involved--along with Sax Leonard, the developer of Desierto Lindo, a proposed stylized community, who hired Cady to do the environmental-impact report. Henry discovers that Cady lied, covering up the existence of the endangered frog species on the proposed site, which would quash it. Meanwhile, Henry and Allison do a little rock-climbing, bird-rescuing, thug-mashing, and hard-nosed courting, while sorting out the poachers from the murderers from the just plain crooks. A wildlife story with more than its ideals going for it: Ring's sharp characterizations, vivid nature descriptions, and love of the land are wrapped up smartly in a well-conceived plot. A strong addition to the hard-boiled camp.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's