We’re nearing a presidential election in the United States, so that means it’s a season of hot rhetoric and snarky comments about everything from a candidate’s hair to the candidate’s lunch menu. It’s dangerous to make up one’s mind based on mere physical appearance or a slip of the tongue; but we all tend to make snap judgments about everyone we meet. We might very well decide the man in the filthy clothes on the street corner is a homeless bum, the stay-at-home mom has no ambition, and the career cop is a gun enthusiast. But in reality the guy in filthy clothes may be a hard-working construction laborer, the stay-at-home mom may be running an accounting business out of her house, and the career cop may be a Shakespearean actor in his spare time.
I’m a private investigator in real life, and I am fascinated by this frequent disparity between public perception and reality. So that’s my theme in my latest mystery novel, BEAR BAIT, the second book in my Summer “Sam” Westin wilderness series from Berkley Prime Crime. Sam trained to be a wildlife biologist and dreamed of being a park ranger, but never found that perfect job. In BEAR BAIT, Sam has landed a three-month contract doing a wildlife study on a tract of land transferred from the U.S. Forest Service to Olympic National Park. She’s in her element, the wilderness she loves. She’s proud to be part of a process that will save the wildlife from logging, hunting, and mining. She’s proud to wear a uniform shirt, even if it’s only temporary, because she feels the uniform earns her automatic respect and credibility. Sam has no idea what that U.S. Park Service shirt represents to a select group of local citizens, and no way to know what they’re up to out there in the woods. But she’s about to risk everything to find out.
Thank you, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, for inviting me to sign BEAR BAIT.
I love your store!