Grady Service, the hardboiled conservation officer of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, is back with a vengeance and facing the most difficult case of his career. In Strike Dog--the fifth book in this superb series--a serial killer is knocking off the best conservation officers in each state. The killings are ritualistic and the victims are mutilated in a manner with roots in Viking warfare. Service learns he is next on the list. The FBI brings him on the case, both to protect him and because of his incredible tracking abilities. But Service needs no protection. He's out for blood himself. The killer has murdered his girlfriend, Nantz, and his son, Walter. Alone, and devastated, Service must navigate the terrain of his own grief as well as the twisted mind of the serial killer.
In this brilliant psychological drama with nail-b iting suspense, the hunted becomes the hunter. Service must draw on all he has learned in the jungles of Vietnam and the Upper Peninsula's woods to stalk the killer. Will his foe succeed in achieving his twisted glory of a perfect record? Or will Service be able to outwit him and enact his own grim revenge?
Heywood brings to life Michigan's Upper Peninsula in his predictable fifth novel to feature conservation detective Grady Service (after 2005's Running Dark), though an implausible plot fails to match the rich rural setting. Soon after Service's son and his girlfriend die in an auto accident, the grief-stricken Service finds evidence indicating their vehicle was forced off the road. Before his private inquiry can make much progress, an untrustworthy FBI special agent, Tatie Monica, enlists Service to pursue a murderer who has targeted conservation agents across the U.S., using an obscure and gruesome Viking pattern of mutilations. An improbable cameo by George W. Bush injects some lame humor (You ain't one-a them Dem'crats, are ya, big guy? the president asks Service), while the eventual revelation of the connection between the trail of bodies and the fatal accident will surprise few. (Sept.)
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October 02, 2008
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