CHASING A BLOND MOON: A Woods Cop Mystery
Heywood's third Woods Cop mystery (after 2002's Blue Wolf in Green Fire) is another invigorating trek through Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the company of the dedicated conservation officers who protect it. Having spent nearly 20 years patrolling in the U.P. (pronounced Yoop), Grady Service cares fiercely about the land, the animals, justice and a small handful of people, including Maridly Nantz, his extremely smart and sexy girlfriend. The story starts with a bang: the long-divorced Service discovers he has a son, Arthur, now almost 16. At first they don't know what to do with each other, but slowly they move to respect and then affection, adding a new note of sweetness to Service's life. The main plot, centered on a rare species of bear being illegally hunted, has more twists than a mountain switchback trail. Other problems pile up and often sidetrack Service's investigation. These incidents are all in a day's work for COs, and Heywood vividly describes the skills, courage and humor they use to defuse potentially deadly confrontations. Those readers daunted by the overly complex plot and operatic-sized cast should relax and just go with the flow. Top-notch action scenes, engaging characters both major and minor, masterful dialogue and a passionate sense of place make this a fine series. (Sept. 20)
Forecast:Though not in the same league as Nevada Barr's national parks mysteries, this series has obvious appeal for fans of the outdoors, to which Lyons Press caters. The arresting jacket art depicts an infrared image of a bear with a full moon above.