cover image The Case of the Missing Game Warden: A Henry Glance Mystery

The Case of the Missing Game Warden: A Henry Glance Mystery

Steven T. Callan. Coffeetown, $16.95 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-60381-306-8

Callan (the memoir The Game Warden’s Son) makes his fiction debut with a labyrinthine series launch. In 1956, veteran game warden Norman Bettis vanishes during his investigation into a gang of commercial wildfowl poachers in California’s Butte County. Three years later, two 11-year-old boys riding their bikes in the countryside outside Temecula, Calif., hundreds of miles to the south, learn of Bettis’s disappearance after they help the local ranger capture a couple of goose poachers. One of the boys, Henry Glance, grows up to become a game warden. When his first assignment is to Bettis’s former patrol territory, a position that has been left open for 13 years, Henry is in the perfect position to try to solve the mystery of the missing warden. He eventually uncovers a surprising connection between his boyish adventure with the goose poachers and Bettis’s fate. Clichéd characters and too much background detail that slows the plot mark this as a novice’s effort. The promising setup and a likable lead, though, suggests Callan can do better next time. This could be the start of a fun, original series. (June)