(4.5 / 5)
Allison Coil is a hunting guide in the Glenwood Springs area of Colorado. She is riding her horse when she happens on an angry, surly man tied to a tree. When she goes back to rescue him, he’s gone. Her search for the strange, secretive man leads her to a crashed plane with a dead body inside and people that don’t want any witnesses. Duncan Bloom is a reporter for the local newspaper in Glenwood and a friend of Allison’s. He runs into trouble of a different kind when his desperate decision to make some big money, and fast, make him vulnerable to no longer reporting the news, but being the news.
Allison and Duncan, along with their significant others Colin and Trudy, have their work cut out for them in The Melancholy Howl. As they try to puzzle out the plane crash and the marijuana residue found inside, they also have to contend with the suspicious death of their quirky survivalist friend Devo. As the circumstances around Devo’s death reveals, everyone has secrets and people are sometimes not what they seem.
This is Mark Stevens’ fifth book in the Allison Coil Mystery series and it shows. He is comfortable with the characters, allowing the conversations and interactions between them to flow effortlessly and feel genuine. He skillfully weaves the separate stories of the main characters in and around each other, resulting in a story that is greater than the sum of its parts. As fans of Stevens already know, what gives his books real meat are the topical subjects he addresses, and The Melancholy Howl is no exception. In this novel, the author masterfully illustrates many of the complex issues around legalized marijuana and the gray swamp between legal and illegal, inhabited by productive beavers and deadly water moccasins alike. From beginning to end, The Melancholy Howl is a well-written, riveting, gotta-see-what-happens-next read. So, whether this is your first Mark Stevens novel or your fifth, it most certainly won’t be your last.