Die-Off: A John Marquez Novel

Kirk Russell. Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8283-7
In Russell’s solid fifth mystery featuring Lt. John Marquez (after 2011’s Redback), the former DEA agent turned Northern California game warden doggedly follows the trail of shadowy figures who are systematically violating environmental laws. At the same time, Marquez investigates a new lead in the brutal murder of a pair of campers that occurred two years earlier, in the process arousing suspicion himself. Connections gradually emerge between the cold case and the planned ecological crime, a scheme to render environmental-impact lawsuits over water rights moot by dumping a devastatingly invasive fish species into Northern California’s rivers. Marquez is a sympathetic, meticulous, and resolute investigator, but other characters tend to speak in overlong expository lumps and gnomic retorts as Marquez questions them, and the villains’ motives never quite become believable. Still, the setting is portrayed with care, and the chance to root for an animal-saving, nature-loving detective is a pleasant respite from the weary cynicism of typical police procedurals. Agent: Lukas Ortiz, Philip Spitzer Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/16/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-78010-451-5
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-7278-7035-3
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