Friday, July 26, 2013

Another Enjoyable Trip to Blue Deer, Montana

This is the second of Jamie Harrison's quirky mysteries set in the small fictional town of Blue Deer, which is nestled up against the Crazy Mountains in southwestern Montana. All the principal characters from the first book, The Edge Of The Crazies, appear again, including the county's laid-back sheriff, Jules Clements, who is the main protagonist.

It's now the middle of summer, and Jules and his fellow townspeople are gearing up for the annual Wrangle, a rodeo that draws large numbers of tourists into the small community for a party that, even under the best of circumstances, can be a headache for the tiny sheriff's department.

Things begin to go downhill in a big way when someone reports a tent floating in a reservoir near Blue Deer. Jules heads out to investigate, anticipating a nice, lazy afternoon away from the office. But when it turns out that there are two bodies floating inside the tent, Jules' lazy afternoon quickly melts away.

The victims are a local environmental attorney, Otto Scobey, and his young girlfriend who had been camping near the reservoir. It quickly becomes apparent that their deaths were no accident; someone in a very large truck ran over the tent and then pushed it and its occupants into the water.

The dead lawyer had been a principal in the development of a major new resort complex. Everyone insists that Otto was well liked, that he had no problems, and that he was totally cool with the fact that his ex-wife, Sylvia, also a partner in the development, was now in a relationship with film director Hugh Lesy, the third major partner.

As Jules investigates, however, he senses problems below the surface of the relationship among the resort's developers. While he attempts to tease out the truth of the relationship and find the killer, he's also forced to deal with a wide variety of other eccentric characters who have made their way to Blue Deer, including a sexy blonde who quickly has Jules in her sights. Jules' problems will only multiply several times over when the Wrangle commences and the fun really begins.

Jamie Harrison has woven here another entertaining story set against the background of the new West where, in places like Blue Deer, Hollywood celebrities and other newcomers are mixing with long-time natives, not always harmoniously. Jules Clement would remind no one of Matt Dillon or of any other Old West lawman and it's great fun to get reacquainted with him and the other characters who populated the first book in this series. Anyone who enjoyed The Edge of the Crazies will certainly want to find Going Local.

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