Ends of the Earth (A Bug Man Novel) – Tim Downs

Ends of the Earth Tim Downs
Ends of the Earth by Tim Downs
Series: Bug Man #5
Published by Thomas Nelson on September 14, 2009
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Nick must face the realities of lost opportunities and the passing of time as he struggles to protect a mother and her child from agro-terrorists in this latest novel from award-winning author Tim Downs. Dr. Nick Polchak is called to a farm community in eastern North Carolina to investigate a murder. The victim is the owner of a failing organic farm who had developed a drug problem, and the police think his murder is drug-related. Nick finds the remains of a bale of marijuana scattered in the tomato fields--but the South American marijuana seems to be strangely infested with a common North Carolina insect: the tobacco hornworm. To further confound the mystery, the bugs are infected with a fungus from Asia. Nick suspects the man wasn't killed because of the marijuana, but because of the insects it contained.

Bug Man is back! Forensic entomologist Nick Polchak returnsfor his fifth adventure in Ends of the Earth. Building on the Nick’s history in the four previous books, Tim Downs sets the scene of a drug-related murder on a small town organic farm. Polchakis called out to help determine the exact cause of death.

If you’ve read any of the previous Bug Man novels, you know that a certain type of blowfly lays eggs on decaying body tissue—like corpses. Determine the species and the age of the maggot and you can pretty well determine when the corpse met his demise. In this case, Nick finds that the corpse is the husband of Kathryn Severenson, an old friend and former client whose story is told in Shoo Fly Pie, the first Bug Man novel.

When the death appears to be drug-related, Nick enlists the help of Alena Savard, the reclusive and eccentric dog trainer introduced in Less Than Dead. Alena, who once had feelings for Nick, jumps at the chance to renew their relationship. She soon discovers that she is not the only woman from Nick’s past vying for his affections. She finds that Kathryn may have had ulterior motives for requesting that Nick look into her husband’s death. The two of them become friends all while competing for the love of the same man.

Nick finds himself torn between two mysteries. First, who killed Michael Severenson? The journey to the answer leads him deep into a terrorist plot designed to upset the American corn industry. The stakes are high with the fragile economy—and Nick’s life—hanging in the balance. Second,and more frightening for Nick, how does he respond to the women’s romantic advances? Nick struggles to focus on the larger problem of the terrorist plot,while both women struggle to focus on him.

Will Nick have the courage to face the answer to either mystery? Can he identify and stop the terrorist plot? Can he choose between the two women? The answers will leave the reader breathless, and in the case of the love story, begging for more.

I’ve been a fan of Tim Downs ever since his first Bug Man novel was published. I’ve followed each installment of the story and found myself delighted by the sharp, sarcastic wit of Nick Polchak. This fifth book, if I can use a bug analogy, finally sees Nick Polchak’s metamorphosis from single-minded Bug Man into a human being conflicted by love.  Ends of the Earth successfully ties in previous novels, but not in a way that will leave new readers lost. Rather,they will finish eagerly wanting to know of Nick’s previous adventures.

You can read Ends of the Earth for the suspense of the terrorist plot, for the suspense of the convoluted love triangle, or just for Nick Polchak’s sarcastic sense of humor.But in any case, you should certainly check it out.

 

four-half-stars

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