"Holy Moly" is the sixth and latest book about Texas Game Warden John Marlin. According to one review I read, it may be the last in this series. "Word is that Ben Rehder might drop the curtain on his snarky Blanco County mystery series. If so, the Austinite goes out on a high note with this screwball tale. For those suffering Carl Hiaasen withdrawals (the master of comic crime last put out a novel in 2006), Holy Moly might be the perfect poolside fix come summer."— Texas Monthly. There was no explanation as to why it may be the last but it has been a funny series and our sleuth John Marlin will be missed.
Once again John Marlin has been asked to help in an investigation. This investigation is into the death of a local back hoe operator. Initially it appeared as an on the job equipment accident but it became apparent that it was actually a murder. What is not obvious is the reason or motive behind the death. This leaves a long list of suspects and subplots. In order to keep these all straight, be prepared to sit down and read the book in as few sessions as possible.
Our victim (Farley) is doing some pre-construction work for a mega church. There are not a whole lot of people in Blanco County happy that this mega church is coming to their county. So it is difficult to rule anybody out as suspects without a clear cut motive. Also suspect are the owners of a deer ranch where deer are raised and sold for huge amounts of money. Farley (in the past) had reported some suspicious discrepancies in the number of deer being raised and sold by the owners.
During the investigation additional motives turn up when it is reported that Farley had discovered a rare dinosaur skull on the construction site. This opened up the list of suspects. Now the list includes the church officials who did not want a delay in the building of the church. They do not want this find to become public for two reasons. First, it gives environmentalists who oppose their project a reason to stop it. Second, dinosaurs do not fit in the literal understanding of the six days of creation.
The reported discovery of the dinosaur skull gives motive for other suspects as well (and additional subplots for the story). The professor who reported the finding indicated there were collectors who would pay huge amounts of money for this find (or do anything to get it). And sure enough we have one who is trying to find it.
And if you think these are enough motives (or not), you will just have to read the book. Besides..., there is so much more in this book it would be impossible to know unless you read it for yourself. Who knows? Maybe you will even uncover the reason this might be the last book of the John Marlin series. If you do, let me know.
P.S. John Marlin gets married at the end of the book. Does this have anything to do with the reason this might be the last book in the series?