Hollow Beasts – Bringing Down White Supremacists

Talk about a life change! Jodi Luna, an author, poet, and academic, leaves her prestigious position at a Boston college to become a game warden in New Mexico. The area is not completely foreign to Jodi since she grew up there and learned, not only about the local indigenous people, but about the flora and fauna. She knows how to shoot and how to butcher a deer. And she has family support, from her teenage daughter, Mila, and her brother, Oscar, a priest and long time resident of the area.

Being a game warden is a complicated and dangerous job. Often those ignoring hunting regulations are armed and don’t react well when cited for breaking the law. While Jodi is confident she can handle the job, she’s replacing her uncle, Eloy Atencio, who is retiring after a storied career. She will have to prove herself, to the people who live in Rio Truchas County in the northern part of the state, while establishing a working relationship with law enforcement officers.

Jodi is a widow, her husband, Graham, died in a climbing accident. That hasn’t deterred Mila from following in her father’s footsteps. She’s determined to honor her father by becoming a skilled climber. Only 14, Mila shows signs she will be just as tough as her mother. That courage will be critical when both Mila and Jodi are threatened by a white supremacist group, The Zebulon Boys, headed by General Zen, a sadist who is planning for an armed insurrection by practicing on women of color. The women are held in a deep hole until one is selected and set free. She’s given a head start before General Zeb’s recruits prove themselves by hunting her down and killing her. When two body parts from different women – a hand and a foot – turn up, branded with the insignia of the Zebulon Boys, Jodi teams up with a young deputy, Ashley Romero, to bring the group down. 

Alisa Lynn Valdés

On the personal front, after mourning Graham, she’s ready to date again. While Dr. Henley Bethel, the new and much younger wildlife veterinarian, flirts with Jodi, she’s not looking to become a cougar. Instead, she’s attracted to an older widower, Lyle Daggett, who manages a ranch for the wealthy Sauer Brothers. Jodi and Lyle seem well matched politically. They both care about preserving New Mexico’s environment and protecting endangered species like wolves. When Lyle finds traps on his property to kill wolves bearing the Zebulon Boys mark, Jodi helps to remove them, but they both realize the dangers presented by this domestic terror group are just beginning.

Jodi’s parents live in the county, but she is still nursing a decades-long grudge against them. When Jodi was 14, she became pregnant and was sent to a Catholic home for unwed mothers to have the baby and place it for adoption. She was anesthetized for the birth and never got to hold her son or daughter. Oscar risks bringing up a hurtful topic by telling Jodi that times have changed and he is able to obtain information about her child. Jodi doesn’t think twice about opening that door. She’s grieved for years and wants to meet her now adult child.

Alisa Lynn Valdés launches a terrific new series with Hollow Beasts. Fans of J.A. Jance’s Joanna Brady series, about a county sheriff in Arizona, and C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series, about a game warden in Wyoming, will want to place Valdés’ Jodi Luna debut on their must-read list.

Hollow Beasts
Alisa Lynn Valdés

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (619 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.