By Pamela Beason
If you’re looking for a novel with some bite, look no further. I’m talking cougars (and I don’t mean middle-aged women after young studs). I’m talking coyotes and wilderness and mountains and scenery and don’t forget about a missing child. With enough animals to fill a zoo, enough suspects to complete a line up, and enough suspense to keep your nails short, Endangered is part of a great new series sure to please animal and mysteries lovers alike.
Free lance writer and wildlife biologist Summer ‘Sam’ Westin is checking on the progress of recently released cougars at Heritage National Monument in Utah. Arriving at the park a day later than expected she helps a lost three year old boy return to his father. Later, she learns the child has gone missing and the man she saw may not have been the infant’s parent. The situation becomes chaotic as search teams scour the park and Westin must contend with not only a contingency of people out to destroy the cougars believed to have killed the boy, but a pesky FBI agent whose suspects are of the two legged variety. Who might have taken the child? A weird man with children’s toys in his RV? A hunting fanatic? An unseen mountain man who howls at the moon? Teenagers after ransom? The boy’s own father? Or was the child taken, as feared, by roving cougars? Westin and her friends are against time, nature, wildlife in various forms to save not only the child but the furry beasts of the park.
This plot has all of the necessary elements for a good story. A lot of suspense, well rounded characters, trivia, and the requisite wildlife for an novel set in the outdoors.
Summer ‘Sam’ Alicia Westin: 37, wildlife geologist, freelance writer, silver blonde hair, gray eyes, short, father is Methodist minister, mother dies when Sam was nine, drives a Civic, former zookeeper, seasonal ranger with the national Park Service, and environmental consultant, grew up in Kansas
Buck Ferguson: silver hair and mustache, runs Eagle Tours which involved in eco-tourism and hunting expeditions, pale blue eyes, against wildlife protection
Chase J. Perez: FBI Special Agent out of Salt Lake City, tall, lean, black hair, tea brown eyes, serious with a subtle wry sense of humor, his quirk is his constant notepad, former accountant, mother is full blood Lakota
There are a couple more good characters with some fine support cast. They are very well presented with plenty of information. They all work well together.
Westin is cynical and shoots off her mouth at times. Perez is serious, clinical but with dry humor, Ferguson and a few others are blustery. All have distinctive voices.
I really enjoyed the many animals mentioned as well as the knowledge shown about nature, the Anasazis, and rappelling, etc. This is one of those books where the imagination soars and I found myself camping and climbing right along with the characters. This has solid writing, excellent character development, little profanity, and is a very good story.