Hopsquatch is a modern mystery set against the background of Amerindian legend, cryptozoology (the search for "hidden" animals), and clashes mirrored in real-life headlines from the rural battlegrounds where tradition stands against the march of "progress," often with explosive results. On the eve of his hotly-contested reelection campaign in Cascade County, Oregon, Sheriff Jason Pruett finds himself in the midst of an unprecedented crime wave. The richest man in town has been murdered, neck broken by someone ...
Hopsquatch is a modern mystery set against the background of Amerindian legend, cryptozoology (the search for "hidden" animals), and clashes mirrored in real-life headlines from the rural battlegrounds where tradition stands against the march of "progress," often with explosive results. On the eve of his hotly-contested reelection campaign in Cascade County, Oregon, Sheriff Jason Pruett finds himself in the midst of an unprecedented crime wave. The richest man in town has been murdered, neck broken by someone --or something --with extremely large, powerful hands. The victim, CEO of Cascade County's primary industry, leaves behind a marriage fraught with tension and a county torn by both political and racial animosity. Sheriff Pruett races against time to find the killer(s), while the victim's company --Paul Bunyan Logging --faces violent opposition from radical environmentalists and a tribe of Native Americans bent on preserving their homeland's virgin forest at all costs. To that end, a tribal shaman claims that he has conjured Omah, a vengeful nature spirit better known to Cascade County's white inhabitants as Sasquatch or Bigfoot.
Sheriff Pruett is a skeptic, but as mayhem escalates around him, claiming other lives, he must follow every lead available to solve the crime and restore order.
An unusually inhuman suspect lends the main interest to this otherwise lackluster novel from Newton, the author of 241 books, including the Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology. When Paul Braithwaite, the obnoxious CEO of Paul Bunyan Logging and the major employer of Cascade County, Ore., is murdered, Sheriff Jason Pruett tries to keep the investigation under his control in order to help his re-election prospects. Pursuing both a confrontational and radical environmental group, Earth Now!, and leaders of the local Nahanni tribe, both known enemies of the company, is an obvious approach, but when the news gets out that the cause of death was the wrenching of the victim’s neck by an extremely large hand, newspaperman Todd Ransom publishes a speculative piece that the killer might be Bigfoot. But even with a potential monster on the loose, Newton’s stereotyped characters fail to convey the palpable sense of fear that would make this a thriller and not simply a procedural. (Sept.)
Move over, supercriminals. The sheriff of Cascade County, Oreg., is on the trail of Bigfoot. When Paul Braithwaite is found dead in the wreck of his new Lexus, his head almost twisted from his body, there's no dearth of suspects. The head of Paul Bunyan Logging had plenty of enemies among the local Native American population and the environmentalists who waged a destructive and sometimes violent campaign against his company. On top of that, he was rumored to have killed his first wife and was on his way to visit his mistress. Sheriff Jason Pruett, a former Portland police officer, is all for the quiet life, especially since he faces a re-election campaign against another former police officer. But it's not a quiet time. The coroner, who's sexually attracted to the sheriff, is surprised by the amount of brute strength it took to twist Braithwaite's head off with just one hand. The stories the local paper runs suggesting that Bigfoot could be the culprit don't exactly calm the waters. When a visiting Bigfoot expert dies, followed by one of the trouble-prone Wekerle brothers who work as loggers, Pruett would have a full-time job reassuring his jealous girlfriend and trying to keep the loggers, tribe members and environmentalists from killing each other, even if he weren't trying to solve the crimes. Newton, who has written scores of books in other genres (The Invisible Empire, 2001, etc.), introduces a solid character in Sheriff Pruett while neatly weaving the Bigfoot legend into a so-so murder mystery.