Scribner, 384 pages, $26
Jake Trent was a high-powered attorney from the East Coast who gave up his high-powered life to become a fishing guide in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Noelle Klimpton is a park ranger. They are the stars of David R. Bertsch's debut novel.
Over the course of a couple of days, three bodies are discovered, at least two of which seem to be the result of accidents. One died in a snow avalanche. Another was a body discovered by Jake while he was fishing. Noelle had to deal with the third, a man attacked by a bear. Jake, who spent his prior life being suspicious of everyone, thinks that three deaths, no matter how unrelated they may seem, are too much of a coincidence. (Really?)
David R. Bertsch has created a couple of characters with potential, although they are at times a little too self-effacing. Bertsch seems to know his environmental issues. He's at his best when Jake addresses his concerns about what is being done to Jackson Hole. The story is a little rambling and ordinary at times. About two-thirds of the way in, it was like reading a different book -- a little disconcerting.