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Five Star, 2015: $25.95 hardcover, $3.99 ebook at

When the skeleton of a little girl tumbles out of a rusty hopper car in Omaha, Porcupine County Sheriff Steve Martinez has a troublesome case on his hands. The car had squatted for years on a railroad siding deep in the woods of the sheriff’s Upper Michigan bailiwick.

The case gets even more vexing when three more bodies turn up in hopper cars at the siding. Two are young girls, but one i
s a grown man shot in the back of the head.

After Steve and his comrades sweat the initial spadework, the heavy-footed FBI moves in, as it always does in cases of child abduction and murder.

The Feds focus on a single Unsub they think is both rapist and killer. But when more adult corpses turn up in hopper cars elsewhere, Steve deduces that the killer—or killers—hired someone else to dispose of them. Catching him, Steve thinks, will lead to the truth.

With the help of state troopers, deputies, tribal police, game wardens, the Ontario Provincial Police and even a couple of Detroit mobsters, Steve doggedly goes on the track of what the cops come to call “the Beast”—although the FBI warns him to be careful not to tread on the Feds’ toes.

This intricate police procedural, set in beautiful North Woods wilderness, features not only a high-tech chase around Lake Superior but also the revival of a clever World War II military deception.

In the end Steve gets his man—and an unsettling surprise.