16 July 2007

Murder in Yellowstone's "free fire" zone

Book giver Mary dropped off another mystery by C. J. Box on her last visit. This one is Free Fire, and we have personal connections to the setting of this one.

Box's latest is set in Yellowstone National Park and West Yellowstone, Montana. The connections are long term. The sisters A slept through the ginormous 1959 Yellowstone earthquake -- in a tent and a camping trailer. Grand Dame Jo and grandpa Steve had a summer home just outside of West Yellowstone. We visited frequently -- once in mid-winter. We feel like we know the Park (or parts of it) pretty well. (We could direct you to a real hotspot for cutthroat trout on Yellowstone Lake or an unpublicized swimming hole on the Firehole River if you're interested.)

I liked this story better than the last one Out of Range. There is less forboding in Free Fire and more story telling. There are some geology and history lessons, but they do help tell the story. If anything, there should be more story telling. Sometimes the story seems to move faster than the telling.

Besides the Park and glimpses of little West Yellowstone, features of this story include bioharvesting, corrupt officials, con men, an amoral West Yellowstone lawyer, and people in the wrong places at the wrong times. Game warden Joe Pickett, the star of seven mysteries, manages to be present at the destruction of another Wyoming state vehicle (it's become a recurring story element). It should be noted that this time, an earthquake did in the GMC Yukon.

In spite of his penchant for being in the proximity of the wrecking of government vehicles, Joe Pickett must be one of the world's cleverest men. He never misses a clue or an implication.

He's also one of the most persuasive people around. Whether he's getting FBI cooperation, access to the locked and winterized Old Faithful Inn, or a larger cabin for his family visiting at Mammoth Hot Springs, it seems that no one turns him down. Oh, except for the governor of Wyoming, who in this book is a maverick Democrat and not one of Dick Cheney's henchmen.

It was a great book to read while sitting on the deck at Sidetrack. Now the book goes on to Williston Jane, who has worked in the Park for the past several summers. You can find yourself a copy in the library or your friendly neighborhood bookstore or the link to Amazon.com below.

Thanks, Mary.

1 comment:

Ken Wedding said...

Real life bioharvesting potential

Found at Yellowstone: Hot Spring Bacteria That Harvest Light

"Ah, Yellowstone. Home to elk and bison, wolf and beaver, eagle and hawk — and a newly discovered light-harvesting bacterium.

"[Scientists] report the discovery of the microbe, which they named Candidatus Chloracidobacterium thermophilum, in Octopus Spring and other hot springs in the park...

"Bacteria like this use a special type of chlorophyll to turn sunlight into chemical energy...

"The researchers say similar genetic sequences have been found in samples from hot springs in Tibet and Thailand, so there may be relatives of the new species, with similar capabilities, around the world."