Publication Date: September 12, 2023
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In this first case in the new Hugo Sandoval Eco-Mystery series, an old-school San Francisco building inspector with his trademark Borsalino fedora, must reluctantly venture outside his beloved city and find his sea legs before he can solve the mystery of how a 90-ton blue whale became stranded, twice, in a remote inlet off the North Coast.When a blue whale is struck by a research vessel off the north coast of California, San Francisco’s eccentric building inspector Hugo Sandoval is catapulted from his precious San Francisco waterfront nearly two hundred miles north to the headlands of a troubled sheep ranch in response to a call for help from his cetologist daughter.This episode is set on the turbulent Mendocino Coast against the backdrop of a failing fishing fleet, illegal cannabis grows, and the struggling town of Fort Bragg. At the precarious Chicken Cove, he grapples with the connection between a red tag posted on the historic ranch and the decomposing marine mammal at the foot of its cliffs. The new eco-mystery series tracks the collision of the man-made environment and nature while simultaneously charting Hugo’s own personal evolution as a husband, father, and native son. A charming cast of secondary characters who revel in the unassuming man’s perceptive abilities, while overlooking his many idiosyncrasies, provide assists in solving the mysteries. We meet Carmen, his corporate lawyer ex-wife; T. Ray, his best friend and fellow sleuth; his intuitive assistant Mrs. Dunne who steers their office on Otis Street, as well as the many regulars who populate Sandoval’s San Francisco. Immersed in the noir of The City, the resistant Hugo Sandoval is a media darling, reluctant bachelor, and people’s hero fighting the good fights in a modern era that—with each requested permit—attempts to eclipse the old San Francisco Sandoval loves.
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