When Redwoods Park Enforcement Ranger Kathleen Shepherd finds a third dead bear in the forest, its paws and gallbladder harvested, she contacts U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for assistance. They send Nick Tanner, one of an elite cadre of undercover USFWS Special Agents.
Highly valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine, bear gallbladders fetch the type of money that attracts dangerous and desperate criminals. When the killing of bears escalates to a series of equally macabre human murders, Nick and Kathleen follow the clues that lead them into a lethal trap—all under the darkly surreal canopy of the world’s oldest known living organisms, the old-growth redwoods.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.75 out of 10
Plot/Idea: In the first of the Nick Tanner series, Cox delivers an impactful ecologically-minded mystery that centers on the discovery of deceased bears being harvested for their organs and paws in the California Redwoods.
Prose: The prose is smooth and engrossing, with tension and suspense sustained throughout. Cox also injects the narrative with refreshing wit.
Originality: This novel's focus on the dark world of animal trafficking and the individuals who fight for the protection of vulnerable species, is highly unique. The setting of the California Redwoods is vivid and immersive.
Character Development/Execution: Both Kathleen and Nick come across strongly as tough-minded, dedicated, and charismatic.
Date Submitted: May 08, 2022