In the eleventh Woods Cop Mystery, Conservation Officer Grady Service is on unpaid suspension until spring, but—stubborn as ever—continues to patrol the Mosquito Wilderness, along with his complicated past. Service is off-duty through July 4 following a season in which Service and his unofficial partner (lifelong poacher Limpy Allerdyce) cleaned up on deer-law violators and poachers, closing more big cases in two weeks than most officers solve in their careers. His reward? He is summoned to Lansing, told he is on unpaid suspension, his badge, firearms, and truck taken. The rationale for the action is fuzzy, a questioning of his using a lifelong lawbreaker as partner.
For the first time, Service has no duties and feels like he has been beached unfairly. But voluntarily on patrol, he begins to sense political shenanigans–an old foe lurking somewhere in the shadows. He could retire, but decides to fight, and enlists help from Allerdyce and fellow game warden and Vietnam Veteran Luticious Treebone. Clues accumulate: It seems someone wants to illegally commercialize the Mosquito. Grady realizes if he doesn’t stop it, the wilderness will be destroyed. The tight story unfolds like a poker game, with one side bluffing and raising, while the other side keeps calling and keeping the game on until there is a final showdown.