Tempe Crabtree is the resident deputy of the mountain community of Bear Creek. Volunteering to help find a missing hiker in the high Sierra leads to a murder investigation, an unhappy ghost, and a threat to her life.
Targeted Age Group:: YA and adults.
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 1 – G Rated Clean Read
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Some interesting people and their beliefs led to the ideas that gave me the first inspiration to write this newest mystery in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. I also wanted to include a revisit from the ghost hunter who has appeared in two other books.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Deputy Tempe Crabtree was inspired by three women: The female resident deputy I interviewed for a newspaper article, a member of the Yokut tribe who grew up on the nearby reservation, and the deputy I did a ride-along with who shared with me how hard is was to be the only woman in the department and to be the raising her son as a single mother. Because I have three pastors in my family, it was easy to create Tempe's husband, Hutch. Another important character is Nick Two John who was based on an Indian who lives on the reservation.
Tempe had no idea how the search and rescue team would feel about her joining them, but they’d asked for volunteers to help with the search when the hiker first went missing, so she didn’t expect any resistance. Though she’d worn her official jacket, she knew her old Jeans would fare better while hiking. Rather than pinning it up, she let her long black braid hang down over her beige uniform shirt.
She’d heard enough about the search to know where the missing man and his group had camped. Off one of the many trails that criss-crossed the thick forest of the Sierra, Tempe was grateful to be in her four-wheel drive official sheriff’s vehicle. Though she wouldn’t be able to go right to the campsite, she could get closer than if she’d been in a civilian sedan.
The road wound up through the forest past breathtaking views with glimpses black oaks and mighty redwoods and deep ravines cut by the river that eventually reached the town of Bear Creek. Nearing four thousand feet, the trees changed into a variety of pines and huge Manzanita.
Hutch spotted the turn off first. “There’s where we go.”
A weathered wooden sign with only the words “Trail” carved on it, titled to the side of a narrow, rutted dirt road. “I expected vehicles to be parked out here. There must be a parking area closer to the camp site.”
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