Third generation Kanab, Utah residents, Rolly and Abigail Rogers, come from a long line of dedicated pot hunters who scour the desert southwest in search of valuable antiquities. When the couple fails to return from a weekend skeleton picnic, (pot hunting trip)along the desolate Arizona Strip, local Sheriff Charley Sutter turns to BLM Law Enforcement Ranger J.D. Books for help. When Books searches the missing couple’s home for clues about their disappearance, he discovers the house has been burglarized and a valuable collection of ancient Anasazi and Fremont Indian antiquities stolen. Soon a search and rescue operation finds the Rogers’ truck and trailer at an abandoned campsite near an ancient Anasazi ruin that has been recently excavated. Footprints and other evidence lead Books to conclude that the couple may have been overpowered by a small group of unknown assailants. Sheriff Sutter assigns an attractive young deputy, Beth Tanner, to investigate the burglary of the Rogers’ home under the watchful eye of Books. Together they track some of the stolen property to a pawn shop in St. George, and ultimately to a young Navajo man with a criminal record and a serious drug problem. Keeping this man alive long enough to make him talk, however, proves difficult. Books and Tanner soon learn of a shadowy group of armed Indian police who patrol vast swaths of tribal and federal lands in search of anyone desecrating ancient Native American burial sites. They also discover several recent unsolved cases in the Four Corners region where individuals disappeared into the desert wilderness under suspicious circumstances, never to be heard from again. Could the disappearance of the Rogers, and others, be the responsibility of this group? As Books and Tanner close in on those responsible, Books’ own survival skills will be tested when he is unwittingly drawn into a remote part of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. There he is forced into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, where the hunter becomes the hunted, and only one person gets to go home alive.
I lived in the southern part of Utah at Lake Powell for awhile and reading this book and the descriptions of the scenery brought it all back of how beautiful that area of the country is. The story of the locals digging for Native American artifacts is a real issue that I've dealt with although, thankfully, never to this degree. Of course this is the second in a series that I didn't even know existed until I read this book, but I'll be sure to go back and read the first one (On Deadly Ground) now. The only problem I had with the book was the amount of characters. It seemed like every couple of pages we were meeting new people- even the last chapter there were two new people.