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by Dave Butler
Dundurn, September 2019
388 pages
ISBN: 1459740874

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In this third Jenny Willson thriller, Willson has accepted a short-term assignment that takes her out of the Canadian National Park system and into Namibia to assist in an effort to stop rhinoceros poaching. Namibia has an eco-tourism business based upon its wildlife and views poaching as not only morally wrong but also as economically dangerous. Jenny is part of an outside team invited to the country to train a new anti-poaching force while working alongside it to catch a recent rash of poachers. This turns out to be an international issue as well as a local one.

Just as she arrives, a park guide charged with protecting rhinos on conservation land is found dead near two rhinos, also dead. As she works with the new team on anti-poaching techniques, she finds herself pulled into the investigation of the guide's murder. During the course of both murder and poaching investigations, the reader finds out a great deal about the justice system in Namibia as well as the intricacies of an eco-based economy. The author describes the beauty of the stark land and provides a sense of rural village life. There is a great a deal of detail about the international rhino trade and conservation approaches provided through conversations between Jenny and an adventure reporter she befriends. The first half of the book is heavily dialogue-based as all of this information is detailed, and Butler's love of the Namibian landscape shines through.

About midway through the book, the poachers become active and the pace of the book picks up substantially. Suddenly, the book becomes hard to put down as Willson and the team she trained and now leads conduct a sting operation in an attempt to catch the poachers red-handed. As the suspense intensifies, we continue to learn about Namibia but now the plot takes center stage. The two main story lines merge, as murder and poaching become inextricably tied together.

There is a personal storyline for Jenny Willson as well, and she spends much of the book in something of a crisis over her professional and personal life. While the suspenseful aspects of the plot come to closure at the end of the book, her personal trials do not, leaving a variety of possible directions for the next book. It will be interesting to see where Dave Butler takes Jenny next.

Sharon Mensing, retired educational leader, lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors in rural Wyoming.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, August 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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