Argopelter: A Sergeant Sandy Coker Novel
Author: Ronald Smith
Publisher: PublishAmerica (2010)
Binding: Paperback, 316 pages
Air Force Sergeant Sandy Coker, now retired, finally joins his families billion dollar lumbering business as its new Director, and immediately hires old military comrades to fill key positions. Two of them assisted Coker in the dramatic rescue of his wife, kidnapped by a maniacal industrialist while stationed in England; the third saved his life in 1968 in the jungles of Vietnam.
On a routine company familiarization trip to one of its plants in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula forests, Coker and his friends finds themselves suddenly entangled in an eighty year old murder mystery which crosses borders and leads to a present day pattern of murder and violence.
Retired Air Force Sergeant Sandy Coker enters the families’ billion dollar lumber company as the new Director, hires loyal ex-military contacts to fill key roles, and they set out together to become familiar with plant operations. Soon after their chopper lands at one of the plants in a Michigan forest, a logging crew uncovers human bones that release mysteries dating back eighty years … murder and mayhem surround the find. The bad guys lurk around as the good ones seek to solve the puzzle behind the bones. New characters enter the search as romance and relationships evolve. Everyone gathers at the Argopelter bar and diner, where arising issues are hashed out over food and drinks. There, the investigation continues for answers that will solve the mystery behind the strange artifacts and skeletal remains found in the woods. Early on, Sandy and the others are sure of only a couple of things; hellacious violence looms nearby these uncovered items and the entire search party is at risk for simply being involved. At the outset, lots of lost money turns out to be the feature attraction. Once the cash is prepared for proper return, the story seems to come to an end – but that’s not the case.
I liked how Author Ronald Smith introduced international politics and a range of characters that included local professionals, a Canadian Mounties Inspector, and a blood line of thugs that extended over a generation. The book opens with a train robbery / murder from 1897, and I appreciated the tie-in, later in the read. Smith also did a nice job revealing how fate has a way of determining, “what comes around – goes around.” I recommend Argopelter to anyone who enjoys intrigue, and for those interested in Canadian/American history along a rugged terrain and timeline.
Reviewed by: Hodge Wood (2011)