Title – Death In The Pines
Author – Thom Hartmann
After the death of his longtime partner and mentor, John Lincoln, Private Investigator Oakley Tyler retires to the woods of Vermont to find the peace that had alluded him all these years. That is until Jeremiah Smith knocks on his cabin door and asks him to help stop the murder of his grandson. Only Jeremiah doesn’t know who is trying to kill his grandson, a local reporter. Doesn’t know when or where and before Tyler can find anything else out, Jeremiah is dead. The victim of a shady hit and run.
Tyler begins to investigate the mystery of Jeremiah’s death and the possibility of an attempt on his grandson. But more so, the mystery of the native American woman who shows up in the woods and just as quickly disappears. He finds a world of genetic engineering and poisoning of the surrounding forest lands. An attack on the local environment but telling the good guys from the bad guys is becoming very hard to do.
Tyler must decide if it is a case of murder or industrial espionage or something even more. And the cost of failure will be devastating for the forest around him.
This was a good mystery but smothered in its environmental message. With Native American mysticism and the white man is the enemy of Mother Earth mantra, the mystery dragged quite a bit. At times it felt as if I was trapped in an elevator with a pamphlet shoving activist just waiting for the door to open so I could breathe.
And that is too bad because there is a good mystery story here.
A lot less preaching and some work on developing the characters would have served this book much more.