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William D. Honey
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What do an incurable strain of Syphilis called Black Death and influenza have in common? Are bacteria and viruses able to exchange DNA material? The origin of AIDS is finally revealed in this novel called Blue Bark by William Honey. But, what is Blue Bark?
Oregon Highway 20 from the community of Sweet Home to Hoodoo Pass, also called the High Cascade Summit Road, was circuitous, monotonous, and most of all dangerous. Near Sheep Creek Bridge, a horseshoe curve claimed the lives of overworked and tired truck drivers who made the last leg of the long haul run from the Midwest to the Willamette Valley. The rusted carcasses of trucks lined the bottom of the canyon below the bridge like some strange graveyard from a Stephen King novel. Why in the hell did he drive Highway 20? The fifteen-mile-per-hour-curves required all his concentration, then some, but he enjoyed the scenery he caught from the corner of his eyes. Besides, it took him by the Mountain House for pie--his favorite food the morning of a climb.
~ * ~
He had pulled into the parking lot in the early morning hours and headed inside for his preferred table overlooking Soda Springs. The Mountain House marked the halfway point between the valley and the summit. The owner and cook baked the best deep-dish logenberry pie in the whole damn world.
Murray Favor methodically scraped the bottom of the deep ceramic dish for every last drop of juice. He had finished the article he was reading in the Sisterâ€™s Dispatch, about a climberâ€™s death on Three Fingered Jack, and placed the newspaper back on the table. He rose, grabbed his tan chamois shirt from the back of the chair, and wandered to the counter for a refill of coffee. He poured his second cup from the pot and sipped the hot liquid.
"Time to go," he told the waitress. "Time to go. If I donâ€™t get with the program, Iâ€™ll be spending the night on top of the mountain. And I really donâ€™t want to do that."
Murray paid the check, bounded through the door and down the sagging steps to his dark blue 4 X 4. He started the engine, drove out of the parking lot, and continued on his way. As he drove, he thought about the mountain. Three Fingered Jack, as he knew the mountain, had taken the best of the bunch to their death.
~ * ~
Lucky for him, traffic was light today. After two hours on hair-raising curves, Murray reached the Pacific Crest trailhead, about a half-mile northwest of the pass. He parked near a grove of three-hundred-year-old firs at the south end of the parking lot.
Today, an unusual number of horse trailers filled the area. Must be a camping convention at nearby Marion Lake, but then there was always a convention there. The U.S. Forest Service had recently zoned the lake as a high-density land use area--an area most hikers and climbers avoided like the plague.
Born and bred in Oregon, with all the characteristics of Oregonians, Murray was furtive and did not trust strangers--especially southern Californians--and most of all, like other Oregonians, he was environmentally conscious. Too many outsiders were coming into the state, to suit Murrayâ€™s taste--especially Californians who brought all their bad habits and behaviors with them.
Old Governor Tom McCall had been right. "Come to visit but donâ€™t stay."
â€¦ William Honey, Jr. does a masterful job of pulling you back in time to the 1960's. He makes you believe this is a true story instead of fiction. This is a must read for all Mystery fans, that will keep you guessing until the end. -- Susan R. Sweet, Wings author of - "A Deadly Agent"
In BLUE BARK William D. Honey has penned an eerie and timely 'how-done-it.' The protagonist Murray Favor is at a crossroad in his life. He has great premise and decides to write a mystery that considers the possibility that the Human Immune Virus originated in Viet Nam during the war.
His research takes him to the National Archives in DC, and from that point, he becomes embroiled in finding his new client's MIA husband. New to detecting, Murray finds more and more evidence that his fictional premise is actually true.
The climax takes him and a betel-nut chewing, hacker-extraordinaire grandma to the mountains of Cambodia. Has the United States government kept hidden the origin of the runaway virus from the citizens of the world for years? And how does the drug trade play into all of this?
The author answers those questions, but does the world really want to know the truth? We have only to look at the news to come up with even more questions. SARS, for instance... -- Mary Varble w/a Marie-Nicole Ryan, LOVE ON THE RUN, available Wings-Press.com, SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS, coming August 2003, http://www.marie-nicoleryan.com
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 270
Paper Weight (lb): 11.4
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