This white-knuckled tale is about Idaho game warden Charley Cove struggling to stop a bloody string of deer shot and left in the snow. He’s stymied by a lackadaisical prosecutor and a questionable deputy –plus the tug of two cultures running through his veins that seem to be pulling him in different directions. Cove uncovers evidence that ties the shooter to crimes against people, and unknown to the warden, his bad guy is about to come unglued and drag his bloodbath into a nightmare for a two-legged victim.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I’m a retired game warden that loves mysteries. Thus writing a fictional story about a small town game warden chasing an extra-bad nut was a natural step for my third book.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Obviously I needed a game warden. It was easy to sprinkle in a bit of youth. But how to ensure readers didn’t think he wasn’t me? I chose to make him mixed-blood Native American. The ethnic twist aided in character development, the mixing of cultural anomalies, and racial tension.
For my female, I needed a reason for her to be professionally curious about my protagonist. I have known a couple of journalist and it was an easy pick.
For my antagonist… I needed a real-life monster and having arrested several meth-heads in my day, it was easy to make the twist by creating him as a methamphetamine user. Nothing like a paranoid delusional sociopath for a bad guy.
Leo stood up and looked out the window and saw nothing but the night. He went down the hall and looked back towards his couch. He paused, rubbing the tooth hanging from his neck. He opened the back door and stuck his head out. The cold air stung his bare white skin as he stepped into the night. He closed the trailer door and listened, folding his arms tight to his chest. The icy river made a rippling sound. His tongue tasted the manure of his neighbor’s far off horses. The acrid smell of packrat urine soaked into his nostrils. He looked across the river up into the cliffs, and let his eyes adjust until he could see the little gray-haired rats watching him, lit by moonlight that only he could see. An owl hooted from the cottonwoods and a coyote yapped, but he sensed no enemies and stepped back into the trailer, shivering.
He sat down on the mattress and wrapped the nylon cord around his bicep. He tightened it up, holding it in place with his molars. He pumped up his fist and watched his vessels grow through the tatt of the dead pianist. Picking up the syringe, he paused over the vein protruding from the inside crook of his arm, and slowly pushed it into the vessel. He brought the plunger back and a dark flash of red hit his candy. He popped the cord loose and watched the blood mixing with the liquid meth in the syringe. His face looked dead serious. “Bombs away,” he whispered, and pushed the payload home, with the snake watching from above.
It smacked him fast. One moment he was sitting on the mattress, needle in his arm, and now he was riding on the hood of his Dodge, doing a hundred miles an hour with the ice-cold wind blowing across his white-hot skin.
The snake looked down through its cloudy eyes and watched his keeper rolling back and forth on the mattress, moaning in an unrecognized language. The reptile opened its mouth, flicked its tongue, and sensed the euphoria snapping in the coils of Leo’s twisted brain.
For fifteen years, from high school through college, and beyond I fought wildfires. The last eleven of those years were in Alaska. I got to the point with fire fighting that I felt as if I’d seen every problem. I knew those that were solvable and those that weren’t. It was time to move on. I hung up my Pulaski and became a game warden in 1987.
It was the perfect move and for twenty-two years, I chased poachers in Idaho. I loved every moment, or least when I wasn’t up all-night or frozen to the bone, but even those reflections hang on the positive side of my memory in retirement.
What am I up to now? There are three areas that I’m still “working” at. Private investigations, teaching forensics, and of course my writing.
From time to time, I work as an investigator for attorneys that are representing clients on criminal or civil cases. Mickey Spillane? Nope, it’s not like that. As I write this, I’m involved in the defense of two young Guatemalans that are accused of rape. I’m invigorated with this investigation because I believe in the innocence of these two kids. Next week, a jury decides their fate. Literally –they are facing twenty years.
Besides my writing, I teach forensics to game wardens across Canada and the U.S. To date; I’ve taught well over 2,000 officers. It’s a great way to keep my hand in the wildlife enforcement world.
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