Wild Call to Boulder Field:
An ArizonaTrail Adventure
By Robert Ronning
(c) 2023 Desert Paws Books
After Wade Conrad’s Golden Retriever, Abby, mysteriously disappears, his grief, relentless search and lack of sleep lead to his unraveling. He is forced to take a leave of absence from rangering and hits the Arizona Trail to leave everyone and everything behind.
There are two hitches: He comes across a lost pet, a feisty West Highland white terrier he calls Buck, and he encounters Jesse, an injured and frightened young environmentalist. It quickly becomes clear that Buck, Jesse, and Wade himself are being stalked by a wild predator.
Along the way, first together and then separately, they face perilous encounters—a javelina face-off, Jesse’s biking mishaps, getting stuck in an old mining tunnel, and a plunge off a rickety old rope bridge into a deep canyon.
When Buck goes missing, Wade, who can’t accept losing two animals inside a month, goes on a frantic search that becomes an emotional rampage. He doggedly follows a series of whup-calls from a mysterious coyote who has been nearby since Wade encountered Jesse. Wade suspects Buck has become a part of a weird, triangular wildlife relationship, and has now been lured away by the coyote.
The situation is complicated by a deadly cat-and-mouse game the evolves as the wild predator tracks them. Wade confirms the cat's presence when he crosses paths with Rachel, a biologist who is tracking and studying a big cat she calls Mirage. She is sure the cat has crossed from Mexico into Arizona.
The odd coyote leads Wade into a huge canyon, then into a vast boulder field. Wade climbs the highest boulder, and from there, he spots Mirage and a terrifying sight. He wants to pull back, but instinct carries him on. He cannot take his eyes off of Mirage as he moves toward her.
Wade’s alleged special affinity for animals is tested on that boulder. He must reach within himself and far beyond the typical barriers between man and wildlife to save his new companion.