Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Death Canyon by David R. Bertsch

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.

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