Grady Service is back. And this time the scene is dicier than ever. We go back in time twenty-five years to meet Service as a young conservation officer. He's still fresh from Vietnam, but he's on his home turf now. Service is good at his new job and he's been tapped for an unusual assignment that threatens to be his last. It's the height of the historical battle in the Upper Peninsula's Garden Peninsula. The Garden had always been a lawless place. In the 1970s, armed fishermen claimed their takes and to hell with law enforcement. The renegades far outgunned the COs, who risked their lives attempting to enforce limits. Service goes undercover to expose the leaders of the Garden revolt. He's as good as dead. With the aid of a one-legged female informant and lessons of stealth learned in the jungles of Vietnam, Service descends into the lan d of outlaws. The question goes beyond whether he will come out of the Garden alive--but whether he can root out the criminals without becoming one himself.
Replete with outrageous characters and the verisimilitude this series has come to be known for, Running Dark is a wild and fully entertaining ride.
For a change of pace, Heywood sets his fourth Woods Cop mystery (after 2003's Chasing a Blond Moon) in the mid '70s, to show the formative early experiences of his series hero, dedicated conservation officer Grady Service. Recently returned from fighting an unwinnable war against insurgents in Southeast Asia, Service finds himself in a depressingly similar situation stateside. The portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula known as the Garden is the setting for another type of guerrilla war-one that sets Service and his comrades against lawless, violent natives who flaunt fish and game regulations that seek to balance the needs of those who make their living from the abundant wildlife with the needs of the environment. To break the impasse, Service participates in a clandestine counterinsurgency campaign (its particulars are kept a closely guarded secret because of a suspected mole), which supplants the mystery solving for long stretches. As a result, the eventual identification of the assailant who stabbed a simpleminded local comes as an anticlimax. Outdoors types will especially appreciate the involved battles over commercial fishing limits and poaching. Agent, Betsy Nolan. (June 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Lyons Press/Globe Pequot Press
May 31, 2006
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