David Sundstrand, author of this month’s selection, joined us for a lively and extended gathering of the group.  He started us off by reading a passage from the book, a selection that emphasized the fact that the setting was an important character in the story.

We also passed around a picture of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery, the scene of the final confrontation between the good guy and the bad guy.  I was amazed at how lush the landscape was.  There were also maps of the area available for perusing.

Having the setting nearby was very interesting to some of us who have driven through or spent time in the area.  But it brought up the question of what the scene with the Owens River at the end was all about.  The author started the book with a reference to the Owens River and I kept expecting him to come back to it in the story, but then he only did so at the end and it didn’t seem related to the story as a whole except as part of a theme of renewal and rejuvenation.

Mr. Sundstrand said that that’s what he was going for and he was thrilled to have actually been at the ceremony depicted in that last scene.  Having water back in the Owens River will make a tremendous difference to the area.

The group’s favorite characters included the Monkey Wrench Gang, Frank and Eddie.

Personally, while I enjoyed reading about the Owens Valley, this type of mystery isn’t really my favorite.  It was a thriller in that we know what the bad guy is going to do and then we watch to see if the good guy can stop him in time.  I wasn’t a fan of the blood and gore and the ongoing animal torture aspects.  I’m a big softie that way.

There were also an awful lot of characters and I thought the Monkey Wrench Gang was confusing as all get out. 

Sadly, Mr. Sundstrand probably will not be writing another book in the series because his editor died and other editors are rather reluctant to take on the work of another.

Instead, he’s been spending time in Goldfield, Nevada doing research for a book set at the time of the gold rush in the early 1900s.  He regaled us with the tale of touring the Goldfield Hotel with a buddy and their encounters with ghosts.

It was an entertaining way to spend the afternoon and Pam and I extend our thanks to Mr. Sundstrand sharing his world with us.