Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Venus Diamond (Blue Poppy, 1997, etc.), whose turf includes Washington State’s Bogachiel Wildlife Preserve, is honeymooning with husband Richard Winters, head of a forest conservation fund, when she’s called back to duty by Secretary Wexler of the Department of the Interior (who, incidentally, is romantically involved with Venus’s movie-star mother). Paris, one of the nine-month-old twins of Native Americans Winn and Theresa Nighteagle, has vanished from his bassinet, left outside the couple’s trailer in the Cedar Grove Trailer Park on the edge of Bogachiel—the site marked by elk hoofprints. Agents and neighbors by the dozens scour the sometimes impenetrable woods to no avail. The trailer next to the Nighteagles” is home to Bob and Carolee Brightman and their daughter Becca. Carolee is one of several wildcrafters illegally harvesting wild plants from the Preserve. Another is Clint Kellogg, a writer living in a beach house nearby. They both provide material for the Adonis Anti-aging Clinic in Los Angeles owned by Clint’s brother Brad, a surgeon and master of the lunch lift. Another of his providers—of human growth hormone—is Dr. Lawrence Fish, who runs the Bogachiel Indian Clinic and hospital. Meanwhile, the body of a Finnish tourist has been found on the Preserve—his pituitary gland, according to the autopsy, removed. Agent Louis Song is sure the killer is the child molester he calls the Gecko, who recently escaped arrest. But much more much be discovered before the kidnaping is resolved, motives and culprits revealed, and Venus and Richard able to resume their honeymoon. It’s a tribute to the author’s skill that, despite a tangled web of plot threads and a jam-packed collection of mostly intriguing characters, suspense builds steadily to the socko finish. As a bonus, herbal enthusiasts will get an almost too generous gift of herbal lore.