When Sam Larkin sees something she thinks is wrong, she does something about it. She doesn't always think first which means her actions are not always thought through first. She had been jailed as a teen many times for getting caught up in some fight or cause or another. She and her mother never got along well because of this.
Now, in her early thirties, Sam has moved back to Desert Rock, the small desert town in California where she grew up. She had come back when her mother was dying. Afterwards, she bought out her brother and sister and kept the home for herself. Now, a few months after her mother's death, she is settling in. She is working on her latest young adult environmental book. It is close to deadline. This one is about alternative energy. Part of her research takes her to the local wind farm to interview the owner, Cole Mintock.
A week or so later, Mintock's body is found stuffed in one of the wind turbines on his farm. Sam is shocked - and nosy. She had liked the man. Why would someone want to kill him?
The first suspect is an environmentalist who has been picketing at the wind farm. Sam doesn't believe the man could have done it. In all the research she has done for her books she has learned that most radical environmentalists tend to be pacifists as well. Sam's protective senses kick in. She is going to find out who really killed Cole Mintock. Once again she acts before all is reasoned out. What she doesn't know is that if she isn't careful, the murderer will get tired of her questions and nosing around. She could be the killer's next victim.
Wicked Wind is Helen Cothran's first novel. She has been in publishing for many years and is responsible for numerous nonfiction books. Now she turns to mystery - and Sam Larkin.
The mystery in Wicked Wind is well paced. Sam doesn't have qualms in using smokescreens to approach people and ask questions about the murder and the victim. The clues build up and Cothran throws a curve near the end to catch the reader off guard.
The other major portion of this first person narrative is Sam coming to grips with herself. She and her mother never resolved their issues. She argues with her sister and brother whenever they get together. There's her friend Eddie who she is coming to think of as more than a friend although he doesn't seem to think so about her. Then there's Lacy, her mother's rottweiler. At times these reflections or interactions detract from the story. By the end of Wicked Wind they help pull Sam's character together for the reader.
I enjoyed this book and read it in two days. At times the environmental discussions go on a bit overlong. While I was interested in all the facts presented about wind farms, and protecting the environment in general, some of the discussions start to sound preachy. Otherwise I liked the major characters and the town of Desert Rock. They make a good backdrop for Wicked Wind.
Notice: Non-graphic violence
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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