Englischsprachige Literatur

Box C. J.

Free Fire

Berkley/Penguin, New York 2008


Box´s latest mystery is placed in Yellowstone National Park. How thrilling to find and read it, shortly after visiting all the places the book is about, an almost singular experience.

Joe Pickett has gone a long way before he is engaged by the governor of Wyoming to investigate a mass killing in Bechler, a remote part of the park, where neither the jusrisdiction of the park nor the adjoining states is valid. So the murderer, Attorney Clay McCann from West Yellowstone, can go free, although he confesses his crime, stating it was not premeditated.

Pickett does not get any help from the park authorities at Mammoth Hot Springs. He feels and is treated as an unwelcome intruder. Nevertheless he stubbornly plods on. The only reluctant help he gets is from park ranger Judy Demming, but his investigation seems to be getting nowhere.Then he meets Cutler, the manager of Old Faithful Inn, an enthusiastic geologist, who initiates Joe and the reader into the world of geysers and hot springs, specially Sunburst Hot Springs, where microbes turn coal into methane gas and thus cause “flamers”. And Joe gets to know the “geyser gazers”, a group of crazy old men, who wait for Yellowstone Volcano to erupt and cause the end of their known world.

The next day Cutler is found dead in Sunburst and a hair-raising chain of events follows, including Joe´s dubious friend Nate and his likewise dubious father George Pickett.

And where is the showdown staged this time? In Old Faithful Inn, the very heart of the park, so the ignorant tourist gets first-hand knowledge of the building and all its secrets. Again an industrial project and two rivalling firms are behind all the evil goings-on in the park, involving the top of the park management and microbe harvesting in the park.

A genuine cock-and-bull-story, but a fascinating read.