An old Native American shaman is the prime suspect in the murder of a tree poacher in my short mystery, “The Ghost Trees.” If you missed it when it appeared in the anthology West Coast Crime Wave, now you’ve got the chance to download it as an ebook single. As is most often true in my Peyton McKean mystery series, the hero, a biotechnology sleuth, is called upon to unravel a twisted tale of DNA, native culture, nature, and crime.
I got the inspiration for this story one day while hiking in the North Cascades National Park, when I happened upon the tree shown on the cover. I was immediately struck by the ghostly quality of the face chopped on the stump by a woodsman’s ax. I snapped the photo and as I walked along, the story came to me.
I jotted some notes when I got home, and after some weeks and months of puttering with ideas, I finally put together a compelling account of the mysterious spirit that is suggested by that ghostly image. The spirit lurking in that tree looks less than happy, don’t you think? Tree poachers beware.
Tree poachers, by the way, are a very real threat to the ancient trees still standing in Pacific Northwest forests. They drive their monster trucks into remote areas, cut huge cedar trees, section them, and take them to shingle mills where no questions are asked. In this story, maybe a little justice is being served, but by whom?
By the way, the podcast crime show Crime City Central contacted me and licensed the right to produce an audio recording of this story. If you’re interested in iTunes podcasts and dramatizations of mystery fiction, I highly recommend CCC. Stop by their website and see if they have released “The Ghost Trees” yet. Most of their recordings are given away FREE. That’s cheap! They have a backlog of stories, so mine may not have appeared yet. If not, perhaps a request from you may encourage them to prioritize my story a little higher up their list?