Feb 15, 2015

Grizzly Trade

A week had passed since Red found the corpse behind his cabin and called the state trooper.  He didn’t have a phone in his dilapidated shack.  He had to drive five miles down a rutted dirt road to use the payphone that hung on the wall outside the ferry terminal. 

Red knew what it was straight off; murder for profit, plain and simple.  A large caliber bullet had pierced the brown bear’s skull just below her right ear, ricocheted off some bone, and exited from the left side of her neck.  A precise incision, probably made with a razor-sharp hunting knife, slit the bear’s hide, and the gall bladder had been removed.  All four paws had been hacked off with a bone saw, leaving the flesh ragged, the bone splintered.  The coagulated blood was crusty, the color of burgundy wine, and crawling with black flies. Driving to the payphone, wedged behind the wheel of his tiny Datsun pickup truck, Red pulled on his curly red beard and wondered how much a bear gall bladder and a set of paws fetched on the aphrodisiac market in China.
(GRIZZLY TRADE, Dale Brandenburger)

A taciturn Vietnam vet named Red just wants to be left alone in his Alaskan retreat, but when he starts to find dead bears in the forest with their paws hacked off, he is forced to wage war once more, and this time he intends to win. Tim Branson is a gregarious small-town reporter, looking for a news story that sizzles.  Despite their differences, Red and Branson are forced to become allies when a methamphetamine addict and an unemployed lumberjack start selling bear gallbladders and paws on the Asian aphrodisiac market.

While trying to track down the poachers, Red and Branson discover toxic chemicals dumped on the pristine salmon fishing grounds.  Accusations fly and the entire town takes sides.  Tim’s job and Red’s sanity are at stake as they try to find the connection between the bear killings and the environmental disaster.

“Written in the vein of Carl Hiassen and Elmore Leonard, every page bristles with the perfect blend of tension and hilarity…You’ll stay with it - the writing is that good.”
Dan Henry, author of ACROSS THE SHAMAN’S RIVER

“…colorful characters…inspired by Brandenburger’s experiences and news events in Alaska.” 
Shannon Haugland, Associated Press

“Be prepared to laugh out loud…to get angry…to root for an underdog, to feel the hot breath of a giant brown bear wafting off the pages.”
 Brett Dillingham, author of  RAVEN DAY

“…a knack for storytelling…GRIZZLY TRADE is a fun read.”
Robert Woolsey. KCAW Raven Radio

Dale Brandenburger wanted to become a novelist after studying journalism at University of Maryland, but he realized he hadn’t experienced anything worth writing about, so he moved to Alaska. He began working for the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game in 1984. He earned a degree in environmental science from Sheldon Jackson College and became a fisheries biologist. He excelled at his new career and writing took a back seat, although he always kept a journal and collected stories. Thirty years later, he found he had enough material for 10 novels, but he didn’t want to re-hash the Jack London theme of man struggling against nature. He wanted to write a fast-paced character-driven novel that included a touch of pathos, as well as the sense of humor that is so much a part of the Alaskan spirit. GRIZZLY TRADE is available in bookstores and on Amazon.com in print or e-book format.