Feral hogs have been running wild in Texas for years. As the problem has worsened and moved into urban areas, news reports started airing more and more frequently on the issue. If something gets reported on the news enough and there is any way possible to make a reality show on the subject, some network does. Two televisions shows on the Texas feral hog problem are in production now with no doubt more planned. Especially now since Texas has granted permission for hog hunts to be conducted from the air using helicopters. The feral hog issue is the backdrop in the latest Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery, “The Wild Hog Murders.”
As readers of this long running series well know, Blacklin County in East Texas certainly has its crime problem as well as environmental issues. Rampaging wild hogs are the latest threat to county residents. There are some in the county that want the hogs hunted down until the very last one is dead. There are others who save every critter possible and that includes the feral or wild hogs. That contingent would be led by the Chandlers, mother and son, who recently opened a wildlife rescue center that takes in everything. Apparently somebody decided to send a message to the Chandlers because the person keeps dumping what is left of their favorite pig at the shelter.
Understandably, the Chandlers are more than a little upset and they want the culprit or culprits found and severely punished. That investigation has to take a backseat to an ongoing murder investigation. Hunters and wild hogs messed up the foot pursuit of two convenience store robbery suspects who had crashed their car during the chase and fled into the nearby woods. When the hogs and the hunters chasing them were gone, Rhodes discovered that one suspect had been killed and the other one was missing. Rhodes has tangled with feral hogs before and knows what they can do to kill. But, in this case, the hogs are innocent unless the hogs have figured out how to shoot guns.
With a murder on his hands and the local hog hunters refusing to talk, Sheriff Rhodes has a problem. A problem that is going to rapidly get worse thanks to a lot of differing agendas and a lack of cooperation from a number of folks. If that wasn’t bad enough, he also has to deal with the return of the notorious Rapper and Nellie and their signature motorcycles. Rhodes really does not like hogs, living or machine, and for very good reason.
The 18th in this series written by legendary Texas Author Bill Crider is another confortable cozy style read set in the woods of East Texas. All the major and minor characters are back in their comfortable routines doing what it seems like they always have each and every day. No new ground is broken here nor is it expected in this well established series. The focus, as always, is on the current case, personal relationships, and daily life in this small Texas county.
The result is another very good read with fictional friends that are as real to readers as you and I. One knows Sheriff Rhodes always wins out in the end and will so again in this case. The only real question is how and who he will catch this time with his folksy ways.
The Wild Hog Murders: A Dan Rhodes Mystery
A Thomas Dunne Book (Minotaur Books)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2011