Dex Stafford likes to think of himself as a hotshot homicide detective. Maybe he is, working out of the County Sheriff’s Office in Bakersfield, California. He’s used to homicides involving oilfield and agricultural field workers, gangs, and gang problems arriving from Los Angeles. But Kern County stretches from the flat San Joaquin Valley to the surrounding ring of mountains.

A forest fire burning in the mountains introduces him to Sierra Mountain Village. Patrol Officer Holly Seabright of the village’s security force becomes a prickly ally in uncovering the hints and whispers of something much worse than the murder of the mayor.

Homicide investigator, Dex Stafford, is a city boy. In the mountains, he battles a cat allergy and a dislike for a place without a Starbucks or even streetlights.

The prickly ally, over the course of the three novels, becomes a definite interest as Holly Seabright knocks the sharp edges off the self-absorbed cop. She may do barking dogs, while he does murder but their lives entwine.

Payback is the first novel in this series. The Most Dangerous Species, a First Place Award winner, is the accident. The third novel in the first draft stages is coming along very nicely.