“Welcome to your first case study seminar. We’re
starting with the Deadwood murders of three years ago,” the FBI instructor
said. “It took us weeks to understand what happened out there in South
Dakota. Six people dead, only two connected in any way. Very unusual, this
Roma stirred her tequila sunrise with the tiny plastic straw for the hundredth
time. Where were they? Lucy and Shawna were supposed to meet her nearly an
hour ago. Had they picked up some guys? Or had they just gone on their merry
way without her? She didn’t want to search for them. Not casino by casino.
So. What to do?
She drummed her multi-colored nails on the table as she checked out the room.
Lots of shriveled-up old people who weren’t having any fun. She’d
run out of nickels a long time ago, but decided her credit card was not an
option—not after last month’s bills. And she’d left her
last doobie in Shawna’s car. Roma heaved a bored sigh, and tapped a
tall turquoise boot against the table’s pedestal. They should have picked
a better place to meet. This joint sucked.
She could, of course, pick up a guy and gamble with his money. Like the blonde
chick in the corner. Roma checked her out. The chick needed better conditioner.
Hair looked like straw. And she could lose a few pounds, too. Maybe work out,
put some definition in those floppy arms. Roma would never let herself go
like that. The blonde was about thirty, not much older than Roma, but she
already had some miles on her. Lots of wrinkles. Not enough sun. And didn’t
she know a bare midriff only worked if you were flat there?
How did she get that guy, anyway? Now he was something. Way too much man for
Blondie. Look at those biceps, the skinny little waist, and that face—move
over, Brad Pitt! Let me wrap my legs around this one. She felt a pang of jealousy
as Mr. Pitt slid a hand under the blonde’s hair and stroked her neck.
The blonde was winning more than just Mr. Pitt. Her plastic cup was nearly
full of coins, and when the jackpot bells rang, she squealed like a kid and
let the cascading quarters pile into her cupped hands. They overflowed onto
the floor, and Blondie got down on her hands and knees to pick them up. Definitely
not her best side. But she was showing enough skin that every guy in the place
He scooped quarters out of the machine’s tray, piled them into the plastic
cup. When it was full, he shoveled some into his pockets—and pulled
something else out. A small vial. Coke? He wouldn’t do that here, not
in the open while Miss Blondie Belly was exposing herself to the rest of the
No, Roma realized, not coke, not a powder—a clear liquid. Pitt unscrewed
the lid and dumped it all into his drink.
Wow. What kind of drug would that be? Acid? Speed? Ecstasy?
Now she wasn’t sure she wanted those pinheads, Lucy and Shawna, to turn
up. This was getting interesting. What would that little vial of Whatever
Viagra? Though he didn’t look like a guy who’d have any trouble
in that department. She’d definitely have to watch his crotch. No hardship
there. Blondie stood and poured some of her quarters into Pitt’s front
jeans pocket, then slid a hand in, too, and felt him up. Roma rolled her eyes.
“Slut,” she muttered.
But then Mr. Pitt picked up the drink and handed it to Blondie. Roma’s
mouth dropped open.
The doctored drink.
Pitt produced another half-full glass from behind his spectacular body, made
some sort of toast and touched his drink to hers. He pulled her tight against
him and whispered something to her before she drained the glass. She slid
her fingers inside the waist of his jeans, but Roma no longer cared.
What had he put in Blondie’s drink?
Not a date rape drug. No need. He wouldn’t want to waste something good
on Blondie, obviously a sure thing. Roma couldn’t think of anything
A couple minutes later Blondie wandered off to the bathroom and Pitt went
back to his slot. Feed the coins, push the button. Feed the coins, push the
Wait. What if it was poison? What if Blondie was lying on the bathroom floor
writhing in agony?
Roma ran to check, banged through the bathroom door—
Nope. There was Blondie, combing fingers through the straw, putting on lipstick,
humming something Roma didn’t recognize. As she sat in her stall, Roma
couldn’t figure out what to do. Tell Blondie? Tell the bartender? “Excuse
me, sir, but that gentleman over there just poisoned his companion. That’s
right, the one sticking her tongue in his ear.”
She shook her head. Not a chance. Not the police, either. Not even an anonymous
call. Not until something happened.
She’d have to watch. See what developed.
Roma finished up in the stall, tugged at her underwear through the tight red
skirt, and grinned.
Yes, sir. Let’s see what develops.
Better be careful, she realized as she slid back onto the stool at her table.
If Mr. Pitt catches me staring, he’ll know I saw him. Then again, maybe
he’ll think I’m just another little biscuit looking for a fast
roll in the hay. I’ll bet he’s used to that.
Roma scanned the room for cameras. Would some videotape whirring along in
the back rooms of this joint show Mr. Pitt dosing Ms. Blondie? She stretched
her neck as she checked the place out. Lots of lenses. She looked again. No
cameras that covered their little corner, though, the one tucked next to the
end of the bar like an afterthought: Here. We’ve got eight feet. Let’s
stick in another couple slots. It’s just two machines. The bartender’ll
No cameras. That’s why he chose those slots. Roma’s mouth made
an O and she sat back into her chair. This guy is crafty. Definitely bad.
She couldn’t look at him, turned away. And there—finally—were
Lucy and Shawna, staggering just a little, giggling, carrying cups of quarters
like all the crabby old fogies. Roma shook her head in disgust. It was never
good to resemble a shriv, not in any way. She’d have to remind them.
She decided not to tell the pinheads about the poison. They were too wasted
to care, and Roma was livid that she had to drive everybody home. On top of
that, the drunks had won almost $200. Life was definitely not fair.
All the way home she thought about Mr. Pitt. Maybe Blondie was his wife? No
ring, though; Roma had checked. And married people didn’t hang on each
other like that, feeling each other up in public. Not unless they were married
to other people.
A date, then. But a date he wanted to be rid of. Why didn’t he just
walk away? Pick up somebody else? And what’ll happen to Blondie? How
would she ever find out?
God, Roma thought. I’m going to have to read the newspaper.
There was nothing in the local paper the next day. Lots of bad news, but no
missing blondes, no dead ones. Nobody in the obits younger than seventy-three.
Nothing the following day, either.
Roma thought about Mr. Pitt constantly. She worked evenings for a cleaning
company, a Merry Maids knockoff, and as she bagged trash, dusted, disinfected
and vacuumed facilities all over Rapid City, she decided to go back to the
casino and find him again. See what he was up to.
In a moment of romantic nuttiness born of watching too much TV, she even considered
hooking up with the guy, offering herself the way Blondie had, just to see
what he’d do. Maybe nothing. Maybe he’d find her so charming,
though, so willing, so beautiful that he’d just take her to bed. Then
again, he might try to dose her with something. So she wouldn’t drink
But maybe he used needles, too.
Roma shuddered. Just go look. Observe. Think of it as an experiment.
Roma bought a notebook, turquoise to match her hair. She slipped it into her
purse after titling the first page, “The Pitt Experiment.” She
set off for Deadwood late Tuesday morning, alone this time.
She didn’t expect to find Mr. Pitt at the same machines, but she started
there anyway. Nope. She walked from casino to casino, playing a slot now and
then, but she couldn’t concentrate. Where was he?
After three hours on her feet, Roma sat down to have a coke and rethink her
strategy. She’d never been any good at science, but she knew there was
some flaw in her method.
She tapped a scarlet nail against her cheek and wrote in her notebook: Day
One. No luck finding P. Then she listed all the casinos she’d checked
and the approximate times she’d been there.
Roma spent as many hours as she could stalking Pitt in Deadwood, afraid to
ask questions in case he’d figure out she was on his trail. She eyeballed
security cameras in every casino, scoped out where the coverage was poor,
and drew tiny floor plans in her notebook, showing where Pitt might do his
She felt like a detective.
Roma had been a lousy student. Math had flummoxed her, social studies was
a ‘who cares,’ and English was cool only when Miss Martindale
made them read Lord of the Rings. Science had been a total waste of time—she
didn’t care why things worked as long as they worked when she wanted
them to. Computers and study hall, fine. Everything else she could have lived
But being a detective was The Bomb. Roma was engaged, curious, for the first
time in her life.
On Day Seven—exactly one week after Pitt had poisoned Blondie—she
found him again. She was checking out surveillance in yet another casino,
and there he was, playing a slot in a secluded corner and checking out the
women. His gaze slipped past her in a hurry.
Not good enough for you? Roma scowled, then thought better of it. She’d
dressed down, changed her look completely for what she thought of as “undercover
work.” She wore baggy sweats, no makeup, and had traded in the turquoise
streaks for a muddy Clairol brown. Her motto had undergone a metamorphosis
from “Make a screaming personal statement with your appearance” to “Attract
no attention whatsoever.”
Pitt worked his way through several casinos, and she followed. He picked up
New Blondie, another smoker but a little younger this time, in the original
casino. By the time Roma took up her station at a nickel slot, New Blondie
was draped all over him. They sat—clutched, rather—in the same
alcove near the bar, and Roma wished she’d actually seen them hook up.
Was New Blondie already there, playing those isolated slots?
She wanted to know, nearly asked Zitboy, a greasy, fat kid sitting at the
bar, but just looking at him made her shudder. Roma sighed at the dilemma.
She didn’t want to call attention to Mr. Pitt, couldn’t let herself
feel like a fool—not in front of a booger like Zitboy—if he didn’t
poison New Blondie.
And didn’t want to share him if he did.
She was nearly out of nickels. Roma plugged in her last three, pushed the
button—and hit the jackpot. Bells rang, a siren sounded, and thousands
of nickels cascaded into her cup, then her lap, the coins ringing nearly as
loud as the bells as they slid off each other in torrents of metal.
Roma grabbed a second cup, hiding her flaming face behind a curtain of mousy
hair. All she wanted was not to be noticed. She never won. God must be bored
tonight and had nothing better to do than fool with her little experiment.
And provide Mr. Pitt with cover. The thought popped into her head as she knelt
to scoop nickels off the floor. Sure enough, New Blondie wandered over to
check out Roma’s winnings. So Roma watched Pitt surreptitiously as she
gathered coins. And there went the vial—out of his pocket, into the
glass, back to the pocket. So slick, so quick, so cool.
Roma sat back on her heels and looked up at New Blondie. Should she warn her?
No. She’d sound like a nut case. But there must be a security guy in
this place. Somebody who could grab the glass before New Blondie drank from
it—and have it tested, maybe? Roma scrambled to her feet and, as spectators
drifted away, she toted her cups to the cashier’s window, using cash-out
time to look for security.
There. That must be him, the little guy in the bad brown suit. The coat pulled
across his middle as if the dough inside had gradually risen past the capacity
of the bowl. Roma grimaced. And that tie. My God, what was he thinking? At
least it covered those little stretched-out windows between buttonholes where
the dough would bulge through.
And I actually have to talk to this greaser. She grimaced, collected her winnings
from the cashier and checked the crowd to be sure she didn’t know anybody
else in the place before she approached him.
“Excuse me,” she said. “Are you with casino security?”
He squinted piggy little eyes at her. Roma backed up a step. “No,” he
said. “I’m not.”
“Why? You got a problem?” He hitched up his pants, tugging at
a waistband which lay somewhere far south of his belly’s equator.
“No. Not really.” Roma backed away from Ugly Brown Guy and glanced
at Mr. Pitt. He was staring at her. Watching her like he expected her to— What?
Turn him in? When New Blondie stepped between them and picked up the poisoned
drink, Roma bolted for the door.
He knows. He knows I saw him.
He’ll come after me.
Roma hurried up the street and ducked into the Old Style Saloon. She lost
herself in a crowd of people at the back, then hid in the bathroom for a half-hour
before she worked up the courage to head home.
Roma wrote down three things she learned from that second encounter with Mr.
First, she was a coward. She’d run as fast as she could. But, she told
herself many times the following week, she was still alive, still kicking,
and still—amazingly enough—curious. Did that make her a stupid
coward? She wasn’t sure.
Second, Mr. Pitt had a day job, only did his thing at the same time and place
each week. She’d seen him dump the vial at the same place, the same
day of the week, even the same time as the first. All those trips to Deadwood
during the week had been a waste of time. She only needed to go there on Saturday
Finally, the big thing: the blondes might not be locals. They could easily
be tourists. If they died horrible, writhing deaths, she’d never find
out unless she happened on their hometown newspapers. The first blonde might
have been from Minneapolis, might have died on the plane home. Or crashed
her car somewhere, her burnt-up remains never checked for poison. Or quietly
stopped breathing on the bus back to Whereversville. Who knew?
Roma cruised the internet for newspapers. She learned the names of most of
the daily and weekly papers in surrounding states. She scanned obituaries,
found a couple maybes, but there were no pictures, so she couldn’t be
sure. She found a likely victim in Sioux Falls – the obit said she was
born in Deadwood, so maybe she came back now and then? Roma called the Argus
Leader to get some details.
“I need to know what she looked like.”
“I beg your pardon?” asked the staffer Roma had reached.
“Do you have a picture?”
Roma sighed impatiently. “Well how can I find out her hair color?”
“Um… it was blonde.”
“How do you know if you haven’t got a picture?”
There was a long pause. “She worked at my daughter’s day care.”
“Good, then. Was she pretty?”
“Ah, well, it depends on what you call pretty, I suppose.” The
voice moved over the words slowly.
“About how much did she weigh?”
A lot of time passed.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I think you need to talk to my supervisor.
What did you say your name was?”
Roma hung up, certain she had found a Pitt victim, equally sure the cops would
come looking for her if she gave her name. They’d spout questions about
poisons and motives and alibis, none of which she had.
She recorded her thoughts in the turquoise notebook.
Before Thanksgiving, Roma observed as Pitt poisoned four more blondes. She
dyed her hair so many different colors she lost track, wore hugely padded
bras, painted zits on her face and once even pretended she was pregnant. The
pillow tucked into her waistband made her feel like the Michelin Man, and
she decided no kid was worth stretching out her taut little body. Not a chance.
No kids, no matter how hot her husband turned out to be.
Roma thought about tailing the blondes, but they all ended up in hotel rooms
with Mr. Pitt. She still had no idea who he was, but she did know this: he
was really good in bed. She'd listened at the doors, felt herself flush and
heat at the noises from within, heard the Blondes-Of-The-Week moan and beg.
But they sure didn’t sound like they were dying.
Roma had never been much good at anything, not even cleaning, but she wanted
to be good at detecting. She blew off her friends, stopped drinking and drugging
altogether, and spent her days at the library. She studied forensics and police
procedure. She read true crime and mystery novels.
She felt alive.
She could hardly wait for Saturday afternoons when she’d put on her
latest disguise and head to Deadwood.
She’d considered telling the bartender about Mr. Pitt, but it was a
different one every week, all ancient and disinterested. Maybe Zitboy, then.
A regular at the bar, he could confirm her story if she contacted The Authorities,
but that seemed risky. If Mr. Pitt broke his pattern and didn’t poison,
she’d look like a bonehead in front of Zitboy. And Roma could never,
never allow that to happen. Besides, she didn’t want to share the glory
with that drunken little piece of pus. So what could she do?
Just watch. Watch and learn.
Roma grew increasingly angry with Mr. Pitt. Who did he think he was, anyway?
Messing with woman after woman? He poisoned them and then took them to bed,
and though Roma could never stay to watch, she imagined he sent their dying
little bodies off the next morning with a slap on the butt and a big sloppy
kiss. The nerve.
And how did he do it? What poison did he use?
She scouted the internet for information on poisons but found little that
was useful—she couldn’t get her hands on any except maybe garden
poisons, but people might wonder why she was asking for stuff like that in
the fall. She kept looking.
The vet’s office was Roma’s least favorite cleaning client. It
smelled of pee and fear and hairy things that shed. Despite her best cleaning
efforts, fur clung to everything, even her polyester uniform pants. As she
was sitting in the waiting area one night, impatiently applying the backside
of the vet’s scotch tape to her pant legs, it occurred to her that veterinarians
had drugs like doctors did. She’d watched enough television to know
that the good stuff was probably locked up, but she looked anyway.
Roma knew nothing about chemistry or toxicology, of course, so that night
all she could do was peer through the locked glass cupboard door and copy
the drug names into her notebook. She had to hurry because Marilyn, her cleaning
partner, would only smoke so long out on the porch before she’d come
As she copied down the difficult words, Roma realized how easy it would be.
She’d been thinking about it, there in the back of her mind, for weeks
Roma decided to get even all by herself.
She had some serious drug stealing to do in the weeks ahead.
Smiling, she left with fourteen drug names and a pant-leg full of pet hair.
The next Saturday night Roma treated herself to dinner at the Deadwood Social
Club, upstairs from the Old Style, and he there he was! Mr. Pitt, all alone.
She was nearly too excited to eat, glad for the tall walnut booth that shielded
her. She lingered over dinner, waiting and watching until he sauntered off
to his poisoning gig, then rushed to the register and, as she paid her own
bill, maneuvered to get a glimpse of his check in the cash drawer slot.
His name was DuWayne Johnson. What a disappointment! She had been sure it
would be something like “Lance” or “Nathan” or “Donovan,” some
great name from a romance story. But DuWayne? He deserved to die for that
name alone. She dismissed it and continued to think of him as Mr. Pitt.
Roma slowly assembled her arsenal of poison. She Googled all the vet’s
drugs, sorted through language that made absolutely no sense to her—uptake
and metabolites and LD50—until she ran across some druggie’s website
that actually explained things in English. And there it was. Big K. Ketamine.
A veterinary anesthetic. It made you feel like you were lifting out of your
body, the website claimed, put you in what was called a K-hole. Pretty cool.
If you used enough, you stopped breathing.
She found the drug cabinet key hanging in a file drawer, but realized she
couldn’t steal a whole bottle. Not all at once. But that old standby,
ER, had taught her about drug bottles. The tops were porous, and all she had
to do was poke a needle through, suck up some of the bottle’s contents,
then squirt the stuff into another container. She had an empty coke vial from
those lazy, useless pre-detective days, so all she needed was a syringe. Which
she stole from the vet. Handy.
It took her two more weeks to get what she thought was enough Ketamine to
do what she needed it to do. She risked tasting it, put a drop on her tongue,
and found it a little bitter. That would work, though, since Mr. Pitt drank
gin and tonics.
Time to try it out.
This particular week Roma was disguised as a Vikings Fan. She wore the loudest
team sweatshirt she could borrow, along with a pair of matching purple sweatpants,
both several sizes too big, a yellow wig with yarn braids and the obligatory
Viking hat with horns. Nobody would notice her face, not in that getup. And
football fans, she knew, could do crazy things. Nobody would care. Just another
nutball plugging nickels into a slot machine.
So here she was, a purple Viking girl with poison in her pocket. Thanksgiving
was just days away, and Roma would have a lot to be thankful for. She’d
give him the fright of his life, and then the world would be safe from Mr.
Pitt. He’d learn his lesson, back off the blondes. It would be safe
to pick up a guy in Deadwood again. She was so ready.
But apparently Mr. Pitt was not. She waited for him to sniff out the new blonde,
but this week, he just made a beeline for the Slots Beside the Bar and sat
there, alone. Didn’t even look at the women passing through.
Roma fingered the vial again as she plugged a nickel into her machine. What
to do now?
Her pulse beat like a snare drum. She was pumped, ready. Didn’t want
to wait. She wanted Mr. Pitt to get what was coming to him. Enough to scare
the crap out of him, for sure. Maybe she’d kill him one day, but not
if he learned his lesson. Not if he left the blondes alone.
But the cops needed to think the New Blonde had done it. Her plan depended
on a New Blonde. Damn. No New Blonde. What now?
As Roma was debating, Zitboy approached Mr. Pitt. Zit had outdone himself
in the fashion department this week with a green college sweatshirt, a gray
backpack and dirty olive cargo shorts so baggy the crotch hung between his
knees. He dragged hunks of hair back from his forehead and his finger marks
stayed there in furrows, testament to abundant oils. Roma shuddered. She was
willing to bet this guy had never spent a single hormone on any self-respecting
Zit was awfully friendly with Mr. Pitt, though. They shook hands and clapped
each other on the back, then moved to the bar. The kid slung his backpack
into his lap and rooted around in it for a few minutes as they talked. Then
he pulled out some papers and handed what looked like a check to Mr. Pitt.
What was this?
Roma picked up her nickels and wandered over to the bar. This was the first change
in Mr. Pitt’s pattern in nearly three months.
“Yeah, man,” the kid was saying. “It isn’t much. Not
for sure. But it’s all my grant allows.”
“I can’t take this, Mick. You keep it.” Mr. Pitt shoved the
back toward the kid.
“Nah. It’s yours. I gotta give you something to cover all those Saturday
“I got plenty out of those nights, if you know what I mean.” Mr.
softly, and Roma felt the heat of anger rise in her face.
“Yeah, I saw you head out with some of ‘em.” The kid shook
his head. “Wish
I had that kind of luck.”
“You will, Mick. Just wait a couple years.” Mr. Pitt drained his
signaled the bartender. “You goin’ to Mom’s on Thursday?”
“Only if she lets Darryl cook the turkey.” They both laughed.
Roma didn’t get it. Zitboy paid his big brother to poison a bunch of women?
And the sex that followed was Pitt’s bonus? It made no sense. None at all.
“When’re you done?” Mr. Pitt spoke around the ice cubes in
“Finals’re the week after Thanksgiving.”
“That it, then?”
“Nah. Gotta finish writing this damn thesis, then have to defend the thing
“What do you mean, ‘defend’?”
Zitboy scrunched up his nose and shook his head. “It’s ugly. Some
faculty members read it, then I sit down with ‘em—get this—for
two hours, and they quiz me.” He took a long pull on his beer. “Scares
the crap out of me just thinking about it.”
“No kidding. What kind of questions’ll they ask? You know?”
“Stuff about the design, the original hypothesis, the conclusions—did
results support or deny—that kind of stuff.”
“So which way did it go?”
“Supported. All the way.”
“Congratulations, I guess.” Mr. Pitt exhaled softly. “Though
know what that says about the world we live in.”
“So anybody can poison anybody else right out in public and nobody will
Roma wanted to scream. She squeezed her elbows tight into her body and balled
her hands into fists, feeling another hot flush rise from her neck.
“None of the others get caught either?” Pitt said.
“How many of us?”
“Five. Seven incidents each. Five different places, five different nights
week. Thirty-five poisonings and not a single citizen stepped forward.”
“And plenty of ‘em saw, didn’t they?”
“Yuh. Lots.” Zitboy picked at a ragged fingernail. “Makes you
Pitt shook his head. “Sure does.”
Roma’s fingers slipped into her pocket to clutch the vial. Her teeth scraped
hard against each other. She wanted to throw something, hurt someone.
How dare they?
They had used her. Used everybody in the casino. None of it was real. They had
lied. Cheated. Stolen. Stolen her Saturday nights. Stolen her days. Stolen her
life. Made her care—more than ever before—about something that wasn’t
anything at all.
She felt in her purse for the tattered aqua notebook, the record of her experiment,
the record of her observations, the record of her first real mystery. She could
barely draw breath. The pressure in her chest, the anger boiling in there, filled
up every tiny air sac with fury.
As tears swelled behind her eyes, Roma clenched her teeth and ran for the bathroom.
After she threw up her dinner, she sat in the same stall she had used that first
night, the Straw Blonde night. She sat there and thought for a long, long time.
Then she recorded her new plan.
DuWayne “Mr. Pitt” Johnson. His brother Mick.
She would need more drugs. A lot more drugs.
“…We finally understood when we found the notebook.” The FBI
instructor nodded to the back of the classroom and the lights dimmed. An image
appeared on the screen behind him, a small notebook page covered with careful
girlish script. The i’s were dotted with tiny circles. “This sample,
a page about the second murder, explains much about the psychology of this particular
What a rush! Zitboy fell like a big old tree. Timber! Right there in the middle
of the casino, just like his brother. Those stupid people flapped their arms
like chickens, screaming and squawking, thinking he was dead. He wasn’t,
though—just paralyzed. If they’d known they could have breathed for
him until the drug wore off, I wonder? Would they take turns putting their mouths
on his, blowing, ignoring his zits and bad breath and greasy hair? Eeewwww. No
Maybe somebody should do a study on that, huh? Who exactly would save disgusting
people like Zit? It’s such a rush I think I’ll give them more opportunities!
Or maybe I’ll DO MY OWN STUDY!!! How about that? Who should I “study” next?
That loser over there? The one who can’t grow a moustache? Pitiful. And
Ugly Brown Guy, what an excellent candidate he’d be!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen Hall is an environmental engineer and writer living in the
pines of South Dakota's Black Hills. Her first novel, Unreasonable
Risk, was published in August 2006 by ArcheBooks Publishing. A novel
of suspense and sabotage in the oil industry, Unreasonable Risk considers
the chances we all take when we live near--or even drive by--an industrial
facility. It answers the question we should all ask: what can happen
if things go terribly wrong in there?
Ms. Hall is currently working on a sequel, a novel about greed and
deliberate environmental sabotage, set in western South Dakota's hard
rock mining industry.
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