Rosepoint Rating: Five stars
“…the lowest branch on a big redwood is higher than the tallest branch of almost any other tree, in any other forest, on the planet?”
When Redwoods Park Enforcement Ranger Kathleen Shepherd finds a third dead bear in the forest, its paws and gallbladder harvested, she contacts U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for assistance. They send Nick Tanner, one of an elite cadre of undercover USFWS Special Agents.
Highly valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine, bear gallbladders fetch the type of money that attracts dangerous and desperate criminals. When the killing of bears escalates to a series of equally macabre human murders, Nick and Kathleen follow the clues that lead them into a lethal trap—all under the darkly surreal canopy of the world’s oldest known living organisms, the old-growth redwoods.
Orick Enforcement Ranger Kathleen Shepherd gets in over her head when she finds the third bear killed for its gallbladder and paws. It’s obvious they have poachers harvesting bears for their valuable gallbladders used in TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine. Unfortunately, the killing has extended into human murders and Shepherd contacts the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They send Nick Tanner, a USFWS Special Agent.
Love the location of Northern California, the redwoods, the coast, such a gorgeous, uniquely wild area. The atmosphere is palpable; the well developed characters (both sides of the law) are engaging.
Gripping out of the gate, the author introduces information woven through the well-plotted narrative that is both fascinating and startling leading to the underbelly of Chinese medicine in Hollywood. The primary characters are super and I loved Tanner’s “kitty,” a blind bobcat he named Ray Charles. The prose is crafty, strongly masculine appropriate to the wild area of California, mules, wild animals. There is action, humor that lightens just a bit of the gravity, suspense, and an immersive storyline right to the conclusion. A great start to a new series and I’m looking forward to Book 2!
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.
Genre: Crime Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher: Level Best Books
Print Length: 323 pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Author: [Kerry K Cox] When I was a kid, I didn’t want to be a policeman, or fireman, or astronaut, or major league third baseman. I wanted to be a forest ranger.
Okay, also a major league third baseman. Y’know, as a summer job.
But it turned out my inability to comprehend biochem made a career in wildlife management as realistic as my chances of starting for the Dodgers.
So, after four years at Oregon State University I declared myself graduated, and returned home to Southern California. There I taught swimming, karate, and pre-school while I sold articles to various magazines, wrote children’s shows for The Disney Channel, and eventually became a full-time writer.
And because one of my childhood dreams lives on, I now write novels focused on the dark underworld of wildlife trafficking, and work with various wildlife, marine mammal, and feral cat/kitten groups as a rescue volunteer along California’s Central Coast.
I’m still waiting on that call from the Dodgers.
I live by the ocean in Cambria, California with my wife and a clowder of cats.
©2021 V Williams –