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Samuel Marquis
Cluster of Lies
In this second thriller in the Joe Higheagle Environmental Sleuth Series, mysterious deaths are taking place in the Rocky Mountain region outside Denver, Colorado. Joe Higheagle--a full-blooded Cheyenne geologist who has recently become an overnight celebrity for bringing down a billionaire corporate polluter--is hired to investigate Dakota Ranch, where four boys have recently died from a rare form of brain cancer, and Silverado Knolls, a glitzy soon-to-be-built development. He quickly finds himself entangled in an environmental cancer cluster investigation as well as a murderous conspiracy in which friend and foe are indistinguishable and a series of seemingly impenetrable roadblocks are thrown in his path.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10


In this second installment in Marquis's Joe Higheagle Environmental Sleuth series, when children start dying from brain cancer at a ranch in Colorado, Cheyenne geologist Joe Higheagle is called in to investigate. This is a  well written, complex, thoughtful mystery with well drawn characters. The story hums along smoothly, is full of action, and contains great character details.

Date Submitted: September 19, 2016