It’s late summer 1972 in the redwood forests of northern California. It seems a safe and wondrous place, but some of the population of the town of Evergreen is growing pot in the trees, and others are bent on stealing it. Then there’s the coming folk festival, a jamboree bringing in musicians, music fans, war protesters, hippies, the Cossacks and other biker gangs, and the law, both local and federal. Skirting the edges are shades of the Manson family and the Mexican Mafia.
Clifford Hickey is scheduled to perform at the festival in what might be his last guitar gig before heading off to law school to please his father. He arrives at the peaceful woodland campsite of his brother Alvaro, but within moments six armed men in badges crash the camp, and Alvaro runs. Clifford is arrested and roughly handcuffed. One of the sheriffs’ nephews has been murdered, and Alvaro is the posse’s quarry.
When Clifford’s father and mother arrive on the scene, it’s the beginning of a confrontation between the Hickey family and the locals, including the Cossacks, who seemingly have their own agenda for Alvaro.
Clifford, on the brink of adult life, becomes embroiled not only in a murder case but also in what becomes a battle between the Hickeys and the law and, ultimately, the Hickeys and their own past.
Ken Kuhlken earned degrees in literature and writing and has been a columnist for the San Diego Reader. His stories have appeared in Esquire and Best American Short Stories, and he won the St. Martin’s Press / PWA Best First PI Novel Contest.