Scablands (Carmen Carillo Novels #1) (Paperback)
"They found Denny Musgrove's body on the scablands, curled up like a fetus inside the belly of a prize Hereford cow." So begins SCABLANDS, the first of The Carmen Carillo Novels, a series of suspense, set in 1995. Dr. Carillo is a forensic psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of sexual disorders. She is renowned throughout the western states and Alaska and often consults with law enforcement.
When Carmen learns of the murder of her former prot g , she immediately grasps her deep level of involvement and responsibility, and is compelled to find a solution to the vicious crime. Enlisting the help of her on-again, off-again boyfriend, the attorney, Bradley Garrett, she is asked to consult on the case by her friend, the only female detective on the force in Lamona, Washington, Olive Durant. Carmen's mother, Ruby Pacific Shoals, aging hippie and Lotto winner, inadvertently places herself in the middle of the investigation, as do Carmen's son, David, a university student, and Dr. Mary Norman, an ob-gyn and Carmen's foster-mother.
From her initial visit to the morgue to the exciting denouement, Carmen meets the characters who help her draw a finer portrait of Dr. Musgrove: Tommy Plante, a former evaluee whom she referred to Dr. Musgrove; Vincent Berenga, a client of both Carmen's and Dr. Musgrove's; Vincent's mother, Evangeline, who owns the ranch on which the murder took place, and a pair of young men from Seattle who developed a pornography website which appears to be at the root of Dr. Musgrove's demise. But it is Sturdevant Day, a man who runs cattle near Evangeline's ranch on the channeled scablands who becomes her most difficult challenge. She falls hard for him at the same time that law enforcement identifies him as a primary suspect. Carmen battles her own sense of guilt and responsibility as she uncovers a nefarious network of shocking and deceitful behavior emanating from all sides, putting her at increasingly greater risk as she closes in on the truth.
City and county law enforcement are at odds, leaving Carmen space to investigate the murder, using her own style of intelligence perceptiveness, courage and conviction. From Lamona to Seattle and back, she is locked in the turret of a castle, abducted near the lobby of a Seattle hotel and threatened by an enigmatic figure in a limousine as many of the principals in the story end up dead. Her fellow colleagues region-wide complicate the picture. She even doubts the intentions of the county detective assigned to the case. With so many players involved, Carmen's famous ability to free herself from impossible jams is put to the test in the startling conclusion where, in a strange twist of events, the scablands become the greatest threat of all.