Helen Knode Wildcat Play: A Mystery

ISBN 13: 9780151004294

Wildcat Play: A Mystery

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Hipster movie critic Ann Whitehead pushed a Hollywood murder case to a bloody climax and almost died herself. Changed forever—less stupid and more fun—she has moved on to a place she knows well: the San Joaquin Valley, where her grandfather’s closest friend, Joe Balch, owns the oil company that keeps one town alive.

Balch gets Ann a job with the Oklahoma contractor drilling his wildcat well. It’s hard work, but Ann loves both it and her crusty old boss, Emmet. Then a guy on her crew is killed by a falling hammer. Sheriffs rule it an accident but Ann’s LAPD squeeze, Detective Doug Lockwood, says it’s murder. Ann can’t resist the challenge of chasing a killer—and then the killer starts chasing her . . .

From a writer whose first novel was praised as “highly literate, exceptionally action-packed and occasionally harrowing” (Chicago Tribune), this is a wild ride full of bad behavior and laughs, oil-field characters, and small-town atmosphere, starring a heroine who never does anything halfway.

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From the Back Cover:

Advance Praise for Wildcat Play

“I fell in love with the people, the place and most of all the words.”—Michael Connelly

“Helen Knode’s Wildcat Play is one of the freshest mysteries I’ve read in a long time, and sleuth Ann Whitehead is an original. Knode brings the edgy, colorful, and dangerous world of oil and gas drilling to life. Get ready to feel as if you’ve stepped out onto the rig, where you’ll meet a set of unforgettable characters facing hard work, long odds, and high risk.”—Jan Burke, Edgar Award–winning author of Bones and Disturbance.

“Drawing on her family’s history in oil exploration, Helen Knode has created a riveting mystery that blends elements of Upton Sinclair and There Will Be Blood with a hard-edged heroine who isn’t afraid to get grease under her fingernails. Best of all, Wildcat Play explores the literary terra incognita of East-Central California, a land of transplanted Okie roughnecks, blue-collar millionaires, wildcat rigs and the scheming, double-crossing and murder that seethes beneath the placid surface.”—Denise Hamilton, author of Damage Control and the Eve Diamond mystery series

About the Author:

Helen Knode put her experiences as a staff writer and film critic for the L.A. Weekly into her novel The Ticket Out. She was born in Calgary, Alberta, heart of the Canadian oil business, and Knodes have worked in oil since the nineteenth century, a history that inspired her novel Wildcat Play.

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