Marilyn Victor and Michael Allan Mallory
Five Star, Jan 5 2011, $25.95
In Wolf Lake, Minnesota the debate rages over the gray wolf protected by the feds, but considered a menace by the locals. Someone stirs the ire on both sides and that that person kills four wolves leaving their carcasses for all to see. The Minnesota Wolf Institute (MWI) investigates the killings.
At the same time, Minnesota Valley Zoologist Lavender “Snake” Jones is staying with her friend MWI wolf biologist Gina Brown while working on a show for Zoofari. They stop for coffee but are accosted by St. Louis County’s most cantankerous old coot Ivar Bjorkland. They join the Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Peter Bunyan in search of the bodies, which they find leading to a tirade by Gina. Soon afterward someone kills Bjorkland and other human homicides follow. Snake fears her friend Gina has lost control while the Stewards of Superior threaten aggressive action against all who defile nature. Her spouse herpetologist Jeff pleads with her to focus on the show, but Snake cannot help but investigate.
The second Jones animal-human murder investigation (see Death Roll) is an entertaining thriller that focuses on the complex issue of endangered species vs. the economy even with the wolves no longer on the environmental protection list. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Snake is accosted while buying coffee and never slows down as Marilyn Victor and Michael Allan Mallory capture the deep rooted passion on both sides of the wolf issue. Although the actual motivation for murder seems to have been dumped from nowhere, readers will enjoy this exciting eco-environmental amateur sleuth.