Friday, April 13, 2012

Skelton Picnic-Michael Norman

Skelton Picnic

Michael Norman

Poisoned Pen, Apr 3 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781590586112

Third generation pot hunters, Rolly and Abigail Rogers enjoy collecting Anasazi artifacts. Their collection contains human remains gathered during their "skeleton picnics" in which the couple desecrates burial sites. When the pair fails to return from their latest scavenger hunt, their concerned neighbor in Kane County, Utah, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ranger J.D. Books, investigates.

Books learns that the Rogers' home was burglarized with their artifacts. Their truck is found abandoned at a dig site. Books assumes the burglary and their vanishing is connected though he wonders how that will help him find the missing pair. Kane County Sheriff Charley Sutter assigns rookie deputy Beth Tanner to investigate the Rogers burglary under the tutelage of Books. They track the loot to a pawn shop in St. George and from there to a Navajo with a record while arguing over the ethics of lying to a suspect. They soon find a potential connection to cold cases in which people disappeared into the desert

The second J.D. Books mystery (see On Deadly Ground) is an enjoyable Utah mystery starring an interesting hero whose not one of the sharpest knives in the draw as he finds himself isolated as the prey in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and then there is the golf game. The insight into the ethics of law enforcement and generational pot hunters add to the storyline although the solution to the whodunit is somewhat obvious.

Harriet Klausner

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