Grizzly Trade: Dale Brandenburger
Moral and ethical issues come to light in this novel as the author allows readers to decide if it is right to kill animals for sport. Is it right to kill animals to go game hunting? The setting is Alaska and a Red; a Vietnam vet just wants to be alone. But, when he finds dead bears in the forest all mauled and mutilated it sets him off on a path to find out who is doing this and why.
Within this story there are several other plots as we meet a brash, persistent and often-belligerent reporter named Tim Branson whose mode of getting stories is quite unorthodox. Looking to make a better name for himself as he refers to his mentor and friend, Jimmy Breslin, Tim wants to get that one story that will set him apart from the rest and give him some fame. Added in we meet two brothers that are totally stupid as they decide to try on wet suits, swim, lose their boat and appear to be gone. One is rescued and the other taken captive as the story takes a comedic turn.
Meet Timothy and Tim who think that Ronnie Heckler is their meal ticket and keeping him captive is the answer to all of their problems. But, within this plot these two are involved in yet another scheme involving the captain of a ship who is into drugs, woman, selling weapons to the Chinese and possibly adding something to the water that is harmful to the animals. Red and Tim join forces to find out who is selling bear gallbladders and paws where and why.
When Ricky Heckler is rescued and his brother is taken captive the search is on. Ransom is asked and not exactly paid. Tim and Trooper Jake form their own alliance to try and find out who is poaching, killing the bears and selling their gallbladders. Tim with the Alkoot Valley News and within his mind he often hears the voice of Jimmy Breslin the reporter giving him advice and trying to keep him centered and focused.
There are many players within this novel who are after the same thing in different ways. When Red and Tim decide to join forces things spiral out of control and what happens places both of them in danger. Realizing who is poisoning the waters, taking photos of them putting the methamphetamine into the water and learning just who is behind selling the bear gallbladders and paws we also meet a Chinese man named Chang Lee who has an infinity for killing Llamas. A cruise ship and its captain behind what are happening and a community that decides to boycott their presence, as the Grand Duchess is no longer welcome in port. Greed, power, revenge, hate, lust, emotional blackmail and scenes that are hilarious and often right out of an Abbot and Costello movie, Grizzly Trade is quite unique. Tracking down the poachers is not simple and Red and Tim learn more about the chemicals that have been dumped on the fishing grounds of the innocent salmon. As gunshots fly, people get killed, bodies turn up and carcasses are sold, many will profit some will finally see the light and a town riddled with corruption, protesters on both sides and two men battling to stay alive as the stakes are high and the bear killings rise and the main victim is the environment.
Law enforcement is after Red for supposedly murdering a dealer. Dope heads galore. Chang on the loose, poor Ronnie Heckler tortured and tormented and a Captain thinking he’s above the law. Tim’s boss is in danger as someone does not want her to print what she has learned and a dead Llama’s head is placed in her bathroom. But, that’s just the beginning as someone wants her silenced and will they succeed or will Tim finally get the scoop of the year? Tommy Tompkins, Timothy, Wingnut, El Rosario and Chang form the group that Red and Tim need to stop. But, before they can do those things will spiral out of control. Hear Tommy’s rants and raves. Learn just how ridiculous poor Ronnie is and the sad things that he endures. AlKoot Al drives a cab and he’s in tight with Chang. Many died at Chang’s hand. Anyone that gets in his way. But, AlKoot plays more than two sides of the fence as betrayals, deceits, lies and deceptions are just some of what the author brings to light. AlKoot is a liar. Chang is guilty of poaching, kidnapping, arson and much more as the pieces fit together, the bear killings and who is behind it comes to light and a town so riddled with hate, greed and power has to decide how far will they go to clean up the environment, protect the animals and stop the deadly grizzly game. Frozen gallbladders, dead llamas, drugs, poaching, animal parts for profit and the moral question as to whether it is right to hunt for sport and kill innocent animals? A large North American Brown bear with coarse, gray-tipped brown fur. Now restricted to some regions as in this book in Alaska. It is a threatened species except in Alaska. A grisly situation causes horror or disgust. A grizzly bear is not something you want to tangle with but within this novel the word grisly applies and the characters intertwine and the situations get out of control and the horror, disgust, macabre scenes of the dead animals are so vividly depicted that the reader will shudder, feel horror as the gruesome realities set in.
Grizzly trade, as we understand deals with the killing of bears and using getting money for their parts. The situation is a grisly murder and the evidence of the killings are quite graphically described.
When the town realizes that the water is being polluted with toxins will they so something about it? What is the final fate of the Grand Duchess? An ending that will surprise readers and definitely make Tim Branson realize that a good reporter gets the story no matter where it originates. Filled with humor, slapstick and characters that are quite unique Grizzly Trade is a four star read.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer