Seasons of Death
Marlene Mitchell and Gary Yeagle
Black Wyrm, Dec 18 2010, $15.95
In the Smoky Mountains, the stranger accosts a drugged Asa Pittman. He explains to Asa that he has no friends nearby to help him and the Novocain can do to numb the body. The stranger methodically and calmly begins slicing off Asa’s fingers and punishing him elsewhere. Explaining he loathes the way Asa and his drunken buddies treat animals they hunt he leaves the dying man for the coyote and other animals and insects to dine on.
Photojournalist Doug Eland finds the corpse and informs Jack at the National Park Service. Soon afterward, Townsend Police Chief Axel Brody and Officer Grant Denlinger arrive to look at the body on Thunderbird Trail. The coroner Jeff Bookman arrives and quickly concludes the fingers were deliberately sliced off. No one is aware yet that Asa was first with his buddies to follow. Next is realtor Mildred Henks, puppy mill owner. The avenging stranger vowed to get even for what Asa and his comrades did over two decades ago back in 1969 when they killed Farmer Pender and his wife and several animals in what is no longer a cold case. The two Pender sons escaped, but would one or both of them be the predator after all these years?
This is a dark vivid police procedural with an avenger whose calm almost detached discussions with the victims adds to the sense of horror as this killer gives animals a chance for an eye for an eye against those who tormented them. Fast-paced and filled with action, the killer is in plain sight yet not easy to pick out. Readers will enjoy this fine thriller with an intriguing climax that simplified matters for Denlinger yet also weighs heavily on his conscience.