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Night Game (John Marquez Crime Novels) [Paperback]

Kirk Russell

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Book Description

1 Oct 2005 John Marquez Crime Novels
Tough, caring and independent, John Marquez, a former DEA agent, is now the head of the special operations unit of the California Department of fish and game. He brings gritty investigative techniques and a clouded past to his role in enforcing the poaching laws of California. Marquez pushes the boundaries of safety and politics in his dangerous operation in pursuit of bear poachers. A murdered student, a missing game warden, and threats to his own family draw Marquez even more deeply into the tangled world of international traffickers and local thugs. At the centre of his investigation is a wildly attractive and highly unreliable woman who sets some traps of her own. "Night Game" hits hard and moves fast toward a finish that ricochets through wilderness, backwoods towns and the darker recesses of love and greed.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 365 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (CA); Reprint edition (1 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811850447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811850445
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,039,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'Loaded with atmosphere.' Kirkus Reviews" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Kirk Russell lives in the San Francisco Bay area. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous thriller 8 Jan 2005
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
California Department of Fish & Game Special Operations Chief Lieutenant John Marquez and his undercover team investigate poachers using torturous devices to capture, and slaughter bears to sell body parts to healers. The violators are organized, professional, and one step ahead of the game wardens because they hacked into the law enforcement computers. No one interferes with this shadowy group's lucrative business and if threatening the wardens and their families fails, murder will follow and may have already occurred.

Meanwhile as he struggles to do his job without endangering his loved ones, John investigates disgraced game warden, Bill Petroni at the same time that homicide detective Jack Kendal suspects Bill for murder of a camper last year. The link is Bill's live in lover Sophie Broussard, who has ties to bear poaching and other illegal activities. Could Bill have provided insider information to a deadly group intent on keeping their profits the envy of the Fortune 500 firms?

The atmosphere is incredible as the picturesque Northern California Mountains come across as sinister and dangerous as any urban noir scene. John is terrific with his ethics pulled in several directions due to concern for his family, his team and their family, the bears he is supposed to protect, and doing his job. The enemy is the key as they are shadowy yet successful, which leads to intrigue balanced against cruelty and cynicism from government officials whose vision is a paraphrase from the Eisenhower administration that what is good for business is good for the USA. This is a fabulous tale in which justice and morality struggles against making a buck at any cost (as long as someone else pays the tab).

Harriet Klausner
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Playing For Keeps in "Night Game" by Kirk Russell 3 Oct 2006
By Kevin Tipple - Published on Amazon.com
In this sequel to "Shell Games" John Marquez returns and this time he is on the hunt for bear poachers. Marquez runs a Special Operations Unit within the California Department of Fish and Game. Trafficking in bear parts and products of bears, such as bear bile, is very illegal and as such, can be very lucrative. To stop such actions, undercover operations are needed and take considerable time to build cases under intense risk to personnel.

Marquez along with his team have been undercover working a case built from a tip Marquez does not entirely trust. Clearly, somebody is trafficking in bear parts and could be connected to a bear farm and Marquez has managed to gradually work his way into a shadowy network of paranoid sellers. At the same time, he doesn't trust the snitch who gave him the tip as some of the pieces of information he passed on simply don't add up.

Along with bear trafficking, El Dorado County California seems to be having a bit of a murder problem. A couple of years ago a murder occurred and Detective Jack Kendall was unable to solve it. Now, another murder has happened and there are links between the two cases. This time a geology student, known for involving himself with pro bear support groups against bear farming, bear poaching and the like while working on his thesis was killed and his body was found in the area known as the Crystal Basin, behind Barrett Lake. Kendall wants to know everything Marquez has in case there is overlap with his case.

What follows is a strong and increasingly complex mystery much in the mode of the books written by C. J. Box. While the locations are different, the issues confronting the game wardens involved are the same. Politics also soon becomes an issue as the heard headed Kendall is much more concerned with his murder case than what Marquez and his team are doing.

As the cases lead back and forth through the high country of California, around Lake Tahoe and through Western Nevada, Marquez and his team quickly become more than characters in a book. They take on a flesh and blood substance as they work to solve a case with far reaching implications while juggling the demands of their personal off the job lives.

While occasionally a little slow in spots, the overall read is good with strong character development, multiple storylines and plenty of action moving the work forward. Readers new to this series should definitely start with the first book "Shell Games." Not only does it set up the characters, several events including how that case was resolved, are explained in detail in this novel.

Kevin R. Tipple (copyright)
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling, Fast-Paced Read 9 Dec 2004
By P. McGraw - Published on Amazon.com
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the second installment in the John Marquez crime fiction series. Intelligent characters, well-paced plot, an insight into a world I knew nothing about, the illegal trafficking in bear bile (just as the first Marquez explored the world of abalone smuggling, another world previously unknown to me) - plus, to top it all off, good writing. One could hardly ask for anything more, except a third installment. As to that, I understand one is on the way, one focusing on caviar and sturgeon trafficking, with a special appearance by Russian mobsters. I'm looking forward to it already. In the meantime, though, check out Night Games. You won't be disappointed.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flavorless 12 Jan 2008
By Joseph L. Burke - Published on Amazon.com
It's a difficult thing to sit down and write a book and I always hesitate to criticize unless I really feel it is needed. This author has all the facts, knows how to write, has picked a new, interesting venue; the adventures of a game warden. But the writing is without flavor. What this book lacks are the answers to two questions: What is it like? - and - What does it mean? What is it like to be in "Bear country?" Where is the love or regard for the animals being killed? What is important and personal about doing the game warden's job? There is little introspection from the hero. The prose just goes on and on; facts and more facts, characters and more characters - without "juice" and without real life. All this by way of saying, "IT'S A DULL READ!" - OR - "THIS BOOK IS A CURE FOR INSOMNIA!"
4.0 out of 5 stars NIGHT GAME 11 Aug 2013
By MTK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Interesting plot and well developed characters. Enjoyable summer read. Based on this book I plan to read more Kirk Russell books.
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