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Kirk Russell Books

John Marquez Novels

Shell Games
1
Night Game
2
Dead Game
3
Redback
4
Die-Off
5

Die Off

Die-Off

Book 5

"In the hands of a less-talented writer, this multilayered, complicated plot might have fallen apart, but Russell makes it work, taunting, teasing, upsetting, and challenging the reader."
   —Booklist

"...chillingly descriptive and packed with suspense, secrets, violence and nonstop action."
   —Kirkus

It's been a while since I've written Marquez and it was good to pick up with him again. In real life the California Department of Fish and Game is now the Department of Fish and Wildlife. In Die-Off Marquez's story is also evolving. There's plenty happening in this novel but for Marquez it's a continuation from Redback and finding a role where though no longer running the SOU he's still enfranchised and effective. He has a new job title—not that he would ever care about what he's called. In the new role he takes on some of the more elusive unsolved cases where the evidence and leads are too thin to commit the SOU. He often works alone. He takes the same risks he always did, but he knows more now. Knows more but he's also older, so maybe more vulnerable and the traffickers are more global and organized. It's a tough world out there but he's still a pretty good guy to have alongside you when you head off down a dirt road a little bit worried about what's up ahead.

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Die-Off is available in hardcover and ebook from Severn House.

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Redback

Redback

Book 4

"The tension rises as the unpredictable plot skitters and jitters along, powered by smoothly understated prose."
   —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"...a superbly crafted, cleverly plotted, highly suspenseful thriller with a larger-than-life hero..."
   —Booklist (starred review)

Redback starts in the last days of Marquez's DEA career so there's more back story, but I wouldn't call it a prequel. More of an evolution to where at the end of this one he's temporarily attached to an FBI task force. The first three novels centered on poaching plots in California. This story gives him more latitude to roam. In the right circumstances it's credible he could fit into another operation in another place. Or quietly run one. Does it work? If you read the book, let me know.

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See photos taken during Kirk's research

Redback is available in hardcover, paperback and ebook from Severn House.

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Dead Game

Dead Game

Book 3

New ebook edition with bonus sketches now available

"...wildly fun and solidly convincing..."
   —Booklist (starred review)

"Russell tackles both action sequences and intractable moral problems with prose as sharp and efficient as a filleting knife..."
   —Kirkus Reviews

There's only one reason for the illegal killing of so many sturgeon—caviar. And behind the highly profitable trade in caviar is the Russian mafia, dealing in things much more dangerous than fish eggs.

John Marquez is closing in on the sturgeon poachers when his key confidential informant disappears. Marquez and his understaffed team—which is slated for shutdown by top brass—search frantically for the informant in their remaining weeks, while also pursuing the poachers and tangling with the Russian mob and the FBI.

Fast-paced, thought-provoking, and vivid, this eco-thriller pushes the tough but sensitive Marquez to the limit. Dead Game is a tale of unforgettable action and complex human emotions.

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See photos taken during Kirk's research of the Delta area

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Night Game

Night Game

Book 2

New ebook edition with bonus sketches now available

"Superb suspense, culminating in an exhausting but satisfying series of chases, showdowns, and bitter glimpses of justice denied."
   —Kirkus Reviews (starred selection)

"Russell writes of the wilds with deep knowledge, making his story achingly credible."
   —Booklist

Tough, caring, and distinctive John Marquez is back. A former DEA agent who is now the head of the special operations unit of the California Department of Fish and Game, Marquez brings gritty investigative techniques and a clouded past to his role in enforcing the poaching laws of California.

In this gripping new crime novel, former federal drug agent Marquez again pushes the boundaries of safety and politics when he takes his team of Fish and Game officers on a dangerous operation in pursuit of bear poachers. A murdered student, a missing game warden, and threats to his own family draw Marquez even more deeply into the tangled world of international traffickers and local thugs. At the center of his investigation is a wildly attractive and highly unreliable woman who sets some traps of her own.

Night Game hits hard and moves fast toward a finish that ricochets through wilderness, backwoods towns, and the darker recesses of love and greed. A second novel that delivers—and firmly establishes—a great series.

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See photos taken during Kirk's research on bear poaching

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Shell Games

Shell Games

Book 1

New ebook edition with bonus sketches now available

"The bad guys are as colorful as Elmore Leonard's cast of wise guys, but with ex-hippie and surfer dudes subbing for Leonard's thugs and made men."
   —Kirkus Reviews

"What truly sets it apart, though, is Kirk Russell's vigorous, lovely, unadorned prose. Shell Games marks the debut of a substantial new talent in crime fiction."
   —John Lescroart

The discovery of thousands of empty abalone shells and two murdered divers sends Lieutenant John Marquez's poaching investigation in a new—and very risky—direction. Former DEA agent and now head of a special operations unit of the California Department of Fish and Game, Marquez learns he himself has been targeted as the next victim. Stalking him is Kline, a vicious drug smuggler turned abalone smuggler who has a vendetta against Marquez.

John Marquez is supposed to protect wildlife, not solve murders, but the only way he can break the multi-million-dollar abalone-smuggling ring, as well as save his own life, is to find and stop Kline. A fast-paced crime novel set along the majestic Northern California coastline, Shell Games introduces a tough, complex, and appealing hero and a masterful new series.

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See photos used as reference for Shell Games

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