by David Rains Wallace
He used to work for the Forest Service. And then he did a stint growing marijuana. Now George makes a living raising and planting trees. On a whim he goes to visit an old friend and finds the guy dead. The case seems to be dismissed by police as nothing of importance, but George keeps finding things out that eventually lead him into a complicated mess. At surface it looks like an environmental battle over the grounds of a creek. Rumors of an undescribed, rare species of salamander. Then he meets his buddy\’s old girlfriend, and discovers that a lot of stuff he thought he understood, is not what it seemed. Ends up in a remote canyon in the Klamath Mountains looking for the rare blue salamander. There\’s some odd, violent characters also looking for said salamander. There are earthquake tremors and frightfully confusing moments in underground caves. Some weird things happen near the end. And I found out why I don\’t really like reading mysteries. I get annoyed at never knowing what is really going on, being offered little bits and pieces in an endless trail. I get tired of reading conversations that are series after series of questions, people questioning other people and answering questions with more questions. I made myself finish the book just to know what happened, but I pretty much lost interest in the second half. I liked the landscape a whole lot more than the people. I actually enjoyed the writing style and the many asides the narrator made about wild places and the process of reforestation, but then the story took a different direction and became something I didn\’t enjoy anymore. Oh well.
Rating: 2/5 230 pages, 1985