By: Eric Wilder
Publisher: Gondwana Press LLC
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 27, 2010
Buck McDivit is a handsome but down-and-out ex-cop who can’t even get a loan for a new truck. He works several odd jobs and lives on a horse farm where he works part time, but he doesn’t make enough to pay for more than the bare essentials. Life is dull for Buck in his hometown of Edmond, Oklahoma, but all that is about to change with a single phone call.
One of Buck’s odd jobs is assisting the Logan County death investigator with investigations of suspicious deaths. A cowboy’s body is discovered at the ranch of oil tycoon Clayton O’Meara, Buck is asked to help examine the murder scene. It is soon apparent that several cows are missing which leads Buck to wonder if they have been stolen, and if so, if that act somehow relates to the cowboy's death.
Clayton takes Buck into his confidence, telling him that there have been other suspected cattle rustlings on his property. The sheriff thinks a big cat, perhaps a bobcat, is behind the missing cattle but Clayton suspects that Roy Dunlap, another local oilman, may be behind the disappearances. Clayton hires Buck as his own private investigator to see if he can discover who is behind the thefts, if somebody is also stealing crude from his storage tanks, and if either might be related to the murder. And, oh, while you’re at it, Buck, look into the neighboring “…commune populated by a crazy bunch of women.” (pg. 34) They own about 200 acres right in the middle of Clayton’s ranch, and the oilman would really like to buy the land and see the women move out. Buck has his work cut out for him!
Buck enlists the help of his best friend, Trey Calderham, an investigator for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Trey soon discovers some intriguing and unusual facts about cattle showing up at the local auction . As he digs deeper, Buck sets off to check out Lykaia, a commune inhabited and restricted to women, women who have done amazing things to make their 200-acre property energy efficient and self-sufficient.
There are a lot of things happening in Morning Mist of Blood but it is easy to follow along. Buck has to solve a murder, track down the missing cattle, deal with a panther, participate in some rather unusual pagan rituals, survive a bar fight and avoid getting killed by someone who really wants him dead. Oh, yes, and don’t forget the old girlfriends! Sound like a lot? It is but it’s also a lot of fun to follow along with Buck as he tries to survive it all and solve a crime.
Unlike some suspense novels that throw so many characters at the reader that it’s hard to keep track of them all, the author introduces just enough characters to hold the reader’s interest. They really come to life under the author’s pen - I even got attached to Pard, Buck’s dog, and Beauty, a wolf/dog cross owned by one of the women at the compound. They each had distinctive personalities.
Morning Mist of Blood is a good, old-fashioned western frontier mystery updated to incorporate many contemporary issues. And the all-women commune that takes Buck in to participate in some of their rather, um, risqué rituals, might appear from the outside to be every man’s dream come true. But there is a murderer on the loose, and with Buck being drawn into ceremonies where his judgment is impaired (is he in a dream state or are people/animals/events real?), his life, and those around him, are in danger.
Quill says: A riveting read that blends mystery, suspense, and just the right amount of supernatural occurrences to keep pages turning.
For more information on Morning Mist of Blood, please visit the author's website at: www.EricWilder.com