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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
Tulare: Zack Tolliver, FBI Book 10 by R Lawson Gamble features FBI agent Zack Tolliver, who has been experiencing oppressive dreams. When the shaman assisting his recovery is murdered, the danger becomes real. Zack is called in to investigate the deaths of the entire Bartlett family from asphyxiation. Their dwelling is on land in dispute between the reservation, an agricultural company, and a mining company. A fellow agent dies from anthrax poisoning and several direct attacks are made upon Zack’s life. It seems as though he must inevitably visit the dark place in his dream. Can Zack resolve the bizarre case without getting killed or endangering his beloved wife Libby?
Tulare by R Lawson Gamble is a complex and sophisticated mystery story set on the borders of Yokut land. I felt the plot and setting had been well-researched to make them convincing. I found Zack’s character appealing because he was courageous, loved his wife, and valued his workmates. His skill in working with another culture was admirable. The sniffer dog “Blue” was a great inclusion. I also appreciated the character of Eagle Feather who had functioned as an Indigenous liaison on a number of cases. The case had several twists and the varied motives of greed and revenge were compelling. In a clever reveal toward the end, the villain turned out to be the very last person I would have suspected. The point of view will appeal strongly to the conventional reader. Tulare by R Lawson Gamble should please fans of contemporary police and FBI procedural mysteries.