Mystery and Crime Fiction by
Michael Allan Mallory
"Snake Jones is back. Following her excellent debut in Victor and Mallory’s Death Roll, Snake finds herself embroiled in a dispute between northern Minnesota ranchers and the federally protected gray wolf.
"Killer Instinct opens with an old, crusty local yelling across the Last Chance Outfitters store at Snake: “... Shoot ‘em all, every last one of ‘em. Nothin but varmints… worthless murdering scavengers!” Snake is in the small town of Wolf Lake, Minnesota, gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, with her film crew to shoot a segment of Zoofari for the Minnesota Valley Zoo. There’s some buzz that Animal Planet may pick it up for syndication. When she and her old college friend Gina Brown later discover four wolf carcasses, shot and hidden in the woods near Ely, the old loudmouth from the diner becomes Snake’s first suspect. But the old coot is soon eliminated – quite literally – as a suspect, shot by the same rifle that killed the wolves.
"More murders and peculiarities ensue, and Snake, even though she can’t afford to be distracted from this important film project, can’t rest until she gets to the bottom of these mysteries. Ultimately, Snake and her Aussie husband Jeff will need to rely on all the survival instincts and training they have when, deep in the dark interior of Superior National Forest, they find themselves pursued by the ultimate predator: a crazed killer desperate to protect a deadly secret.
"Some of my favorite books, and a major reason I enjoy reading, teach me something while I’m being entertained. This book contains a wealth of material on animal behavior. I never knew, for example, that ravens are the only bird that will fly towards a gun shot. They have learned that that’s quite possibly where their next meal will be found, thus overcoming what would seem to be a natural instinct to fly away.
"In one of those coincidences that happen now and then, the day after I finished reading Killer Instinct, this headline appeared from the Associated Press: “Feds Want Wolf Off Endangered List” (September 14, 2010). We might have had to wait a few years for this new Snake Jones adventure, but you have to admit, it’s about as timely as you can get. Killer Instinct is both a great entertainment and a compelling mystery, with a strong sense of place (fans of Kent Krueger take note) and really cool, interesting characters. Marilyn Victor and Michael Allan Mallory have seamlessly combined their voices into a well-tuned and expressive unison."
“Snake” Jones gets herself into yet another wildlife jam as she and her TV crew scout out locations and try filming material for a show on wolves. Readers will find themselves immersed in the wilderness of Superior National Forest in Minnesota. Seamlessly weaving in material on wolves and their behavior, Victor and Mallory produced a tale that will enchant you and even keep you guessing as to who did it. With tempers flaring all around and with suspects crawling out from under every rock in the forest, readers will find themselves reading until they finish this mystery. Then they’ll go hunting for the first book in the series."
---MYSTERICAL -E online review site.
“For a howling good time, pick up the new Snake Jones mystery KILLER INSTICT. Dead wolves and dead suspects make this north woods chase a provocative eco-thriller”
---Julie Kramer, award-winning author of STALKING SUSAN
“…I held on tight, fully engrossed in this twisting tale of the investigation of a wild wolf slaughter that escalates to human murder.”
---Beth Groundwater, author of DEADLY CURRENTS, first in the RM Outdoor Adventure mystery series.
"A female zoologist named Snake, a hungry crocodile named Sebastian, a feisty kangaroo named Boomer, and lots of other wildly interesting characters populate this debut mystery by Marilyn Victor and Michael Allan Mallory. Add a foxy plot, plenty of creepy-crawly action, a shrewd conclusion and what have you got? A beastly good book!"
---Amanda Matetsky, MURDER ON A HOT TIN ROOF
"Death Roll is not only laugh-out-loud funny but it's edge-of-your-seat mystery at its best. Snake and Jeff Jones are hilarious and have terrific chemistry. The story starts out with a bang and just keeps going."
---Pat Dennis, WHO DIED IN HERE? and HOTDISH TO DIE FOR
"I loved the zoo setting for this mystery. Snake and Jeff are fabulous characters. The zoo really lent itself to the cozy genre with the "small town" feel of the employees and supporters. There were plenty of secrets and corruption to keep me guessing at the killer's identity. And there were plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep me reading.
"I found myself not wanting to put this book down. I can't wait to read another one in this series."
---Dawn Dowdle, Mystery Lovers Corner www.mysteryloverscorner.com
"Great mystery, great book!”
--Janet Rosenthal and Marion Stein, Docents Detroit Zoological Institute. Reviewed for AZAD, the Association of Zoo and Aquarium Docents