Hired by millionaire Terrance Lewellen to investigate the kidnapping of his estranged wife and the disappearance of Colloquy, one of their rare macaws, lawyer-turned-detective Neil Hamel finds himself immersed in the treacherous world of parrot smuggling
"It" is the sixth adventure in Judith Van Gieson's highly acclaimed suspense series featuring Albuquerque lawyer-cum-sleuth Neil Hamel. "It" is also the kidnapping of a remarkable woman, brilliant parrot researcher Deborah Dumaine, and a remarkable bird, an incomparably rare indigo macaw named Perigee. When Dumaine's headstrong husband, Terrance Lewellen, plays a tape of the kidnapping for Neil and asks her to find his wife and bird, Neil is thrown headlong into a dark and dangerous realm where some will pay top dollar for smuggled parrots, and others will do anything - to the parrots, to anyone who crosses their path - that will learn them top dollar.Though Neil suspects that Lewellen, who was in the throes of a bitter divorce from Dumaine, might somehow be involved in the kidnapping, she sets out in search of Wes Brown, the flaky, unscrupulous parrot smuggler whose voice Lewellen recognizes on the kidnap tape. Her search leads Neil and her Hispanic lover, the Kid, deep into the desert's vastness, to a big beached boat and a shadowy figure whose fanciful feathered mask and fully cocked pistol compete for Neil's attention. She and the Kid elude this attacker, but they soon discover that one of Neil's prime suspects has been less fortunate: kidnapping has led to murder. As Neil sets out to find the killer, she encounters a cast of quirky, vividly realized Southwestern characters: the blustery Terrance; the cowardly Wes Brown; Deborah's wispy, weepy sister Sara from Santa Fe; Charlie Register, a good-ol'-boy banker with a hankering for Terrance's paintings; Rick Olney, Deborah's overeager lab assistant; and not least, the parrots, whose intricate, fascinating culture we humans are just beginning to fathom. All the while Neil wonders what has become of Deborah Dumaine, whose absence seems as powerful as her presence.Even in this richly populated landscape, Neil stands out. Her wit, her compassion, and her keen appraisal of the unending battle between the natural world and humanity's unnatural impulses - all make her and this series among the best of their kind.