SHELL GAMES (Wildlife Investigator) – Okay Kirk Russell – 1st book
Chronicle Books, 2003 – Hardcover

Lt. John Marques is head of a special operations unit with the California Department of Fish and Game. He is after Kline, a former drug runner now into the more lucrative smuggling of abalone and a long-time enemy.

With the story set in my own San Francisco Bay Area, I very much enjoyed the locations and appreciate manner in which he presented the problems of the Dept. of Fish and Game. I would never have guessed abalone smuggling could be more profitable than drugs. However, even with all the bodies and climatic encounter with Kline, I never felt the suspense of this book or a real involvement with the characters. All the bits were there—plot, dialogue, setting--but, somehow, I just did not have a visceral connection to the story.

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