Animal Rites

The idea for this novel came from an article in the L.A. Times about a group of poachers who had been busted in the Angeles National forest. It seems that due to the shortage of bear parts available from China and other countries—as a result of poaching—a black market had developed in Southern California. The bears were being killed and mutilated, their parts, primarily their bladders and paws, sold and used as aphrodisiacs and, believe it or not, for the treatment of hemorrhoids.
The group of men who were busted was also involved in the selling of firearms and in prostitution. It seemed to me that there was a novel here just waiting to be written. I wondered, what it these guys crossed paths with the wrong person during their slaughter of these bears? What if they killed the wrong bears? With that, I was off and running and Animal Rites was the final result. I started the book in ’94. In February of ’95 I went on the road with The Tractors and was gone for eight months. When I returned in October, I got back to the book and finished it in June of ’96. It was published in 2001.

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