California Fish & Game Warden John Marquez and his shrinking team of investigators are once again on the hunt for illegal activity. This time it’s the taking of caviar by killing sturgeon. The fact that he has a confidential informant feeding him information should help him build his case as he has an idea as to the identity of several people who are involved. The fact that while on the way to meet Marquez,  the CI goes elsewhere and after a panic phone call to him, vanishes without a trace, does not. In fact, the CI’s disappearance could scuttle the case.

With his informant missing and most likely dead, his case crumbling, bureaucratic pressures which now include more budget cuts that will eliminate his team and quite possibly their very jobs, as well as an always present and interfering FBI, Marquez remains determined to solve the case and all of its various ramifications. His case is just the tip of a gradually appearing iceberg and with Marquez at odds with almost everyone, he is determined that if this is to be the end, he will get results his way one final time.

While this is clearly the slowest moving read of the series and does become bogged down in lectures about sturgeon and caviar, Author Kirk Russell once again provides a detailed and extensive look into the shadowy world of illegal harvesting. As he has done before, the author details extensively the ongoing problem which rarely makes the nightly news and what it will take to stop human greed by some who look to exploit the environment. At the same time, he provides another complex mystery with characters that are very familiar at this point which results in yet another enjoyable read.


By Kirk Russell

Chronicle Books


ISBN# 0-8118-5078-1


320 Pages

Kevin R. Tipple (c) 2008

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