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Five Star, $25.95 hardcover and $3.99 Kindle ebook, 2013.

Why kill a human being with an antique muzzle-loader? Each year in the entire country, only a handful of people die that way, and half the deaths are self-inflicted. In either case, loading and firing a flintlock or cap-and-ball weapon takes way too much time, fuss, and expertise.

A pretty young teacher is killed by a ball from a Revolutionary War-era musket during an encampment of historical reenactors on a river in Porcupine County. Sheriff Steve Martinez—LakotHang Firea by birth, white by upbringing—is troubled by the victim’s role-playing “persona” as a camp-following frontier prostitute. Several other reenactors had been her customers, and sex often is a motive for murder. All the same, there is no evidence of foul play, forensic or otherwise, and the death is ruled an accident.

The next few months, however, bring a surprising number of seemingly unrelated muzzle-loading deaths in the Upper Midwest. A statistical anomaly—or something worse? Steve is suspicious.

To find the answer and to keep the peace in Porcupine County, the sheriff must battle skeptics, a lack of forensic evidence, an ever-shrinking departmental budget, and a suddenly rocky romance with his longtime love, a beautiful redhead named Ginny Fitzgerald.

Hot on the trail in the deep woods, Steve suddenly discovers that he is his quarry’s newest target.

Hang Fire, Henry Kisor’s fourth Steve Martinez mystery, takes place in a remote and beautiful wilderness region on the shore of Lake Superior in western Upper Michigan, a surprising magnet for both colorful characters and dark resentments.