In this first Jake Hines novel, Jake and his crew of police investigators find two bodies left on softball fields in Rutherford, a small town in southeast Minnesota. The novel features realistic forensic details, humor, and believable characters free of the usual genre clichés.
“An unusually assured kickoff.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“…deserves recognition as among the best first novels of the year.”
–The Drood Review of Mystery
Strangers, meeting me for the first time, often ask me where I’m from. They think I’m an immigrant because my face looks wrong for the Upper Midwest, where most people are of Scandinavian, Irish and German descent and have pale skin and blue eyes. My skin is cinnamon-colored, and I have, as a tactful teacher once put it, mixed features: straight black hair, almond-shaped dark brown eyes, dimples, and a nose like the late Shah of Iran. Or Montezuma, depending on how you look at it.
The jury is still out on who contributed what to my bloodlines, but I’m as native as it’s possible to get: besides being born here, I was a ward of the State of Minnesota until I was eighteen years old. I grew up in Waseca. Also in Wabasha, Owatonna, Faribault, Winona and Albert Lea. The foster home system keeps leftover kids from starving in snowbanks, but stability in care-givers is not one of its features. And to be fair, it’s hard to place a kid who doesn’t seem to fit any of the choices on the line marked, “Race.” Most of my caseworkers ended up checking the box after “Other.”
I never met my parents, but I know who brought me into the world: the night janitor at the Red Wing Holiday Inn. He stepped outside to smoke a joint, one crisp October evening thirty-two years ago, heard what he thought was a kitten in the Dumpster, and dug me out of a mound of potato peelings. The night clerk called 911. By morning I was warmed up, and my paperwork was started. I was Case File # 2975864 before I had my eyes open.