Mitchell Granger loves hunting so much that he gets up before his 4 a.m. alarm goes off just so he can be in the field at the crack of dawn, waiting for an unlucky whitetail deer to wander into his sights. If this Oklahoma builder weren’t already a widower, he’d be divorced. Hunting widows know the type: The guy definitely puts ammo and camo ahead of carats and candy.
But when he stumbles upon a young hunter’s corpse, he’s caught in a crossfire between rival land barons, one of whom is secretly breeding monster mutant deer for his private hunting preserve. One of those bizarre bucks has escaped and is hunting hunters.
The Killers in Gilbourne County, Michael E. Newell’s first novel, is a fast-paced thriller that’s equal parts Field & Stream and Jurassic Park, with a little Road House thrown in for good measure. If you didn’t know much about deer hunting before you read this mystery, you will when you finish.
Breeding freakish deer isn’t disgraced pharmaceutical tycoon Charles Anglerodd’s darkest secret. His 5,000-acre Oklahoma ranch hides a high-tech meth lab, spurring a local do-gooder cartel into hunting for a way to bring him down. Granger, who only wants a little venison, is suddenly in the middle of a modern-day range war.
Newell, a passionate deer hunter himself, has woven a sturdy cast of characters into a credible tale of rural intrigue. Discussions about tarsal gland scent and ergonomic rubberized knife grips might be a trifle too “inside baseball” for many, but the reading woods are full of mysteries with hyper-specific subject matter.
If you think you might like a mystery that swirls around deer hunting, this book offers some bang for your buck.
Also available as an ebook.