An Undercurrent of Murder: A Randy Lassiter & Leslie Carlisle Mystery is a novel by Arkansan Joe David Rice.
Advertising executive Randy Lassiter and his new brother-in-law, Dr. Gib Yarberry, aren’t close. Hardly. When Randy’s sister (and Gib’s bride) tricks them into undertaking a male-bonding adventure in the Ozark mountains, none of them could have imagined that a simple backpacking trip would become a life-and-death confrontation involving a band of desperate drug runners. Or that chemistry could develop between Randy and Leslie Carlisle, a professional photographer they encounter on their trek who’s finishing her feature assignment for a national magazine.
Their October adventure starts out innocently enough. But only hours into their hike along the Buffalo National River, Randy and Gib discover a dead man beneath the highest bluff in the Ozarks. While assisting a national park search-and-rescue team in recovering the body, they’re told by a ranger that the incident will likely be reported as an unfortunate accident.
Continuing their journey, they soon spot a strange packet floating in the river. At first it appears they’ve found nothing more than a strange collection of media clippings, but when they discover a miniature cassette tape and thumb drive deep in the recesses of the waterproof container, they realize there’s probably more to the man’s death than they expected. That’s confirmed when the powerful individual highlighted in the clippings stumbles upon their campsite.
What was supposed to have been an idyllic venture soon becomes a matter of survival as Randy, Gib, and Leslie–their new photographer friend– are forced to battle both Mother Nature and a group of violent criminals who have everything to lose if the material in that mysterious packet makes its way to federal law enforcement authorities.
About the Author
A former partner in a canoe outfitter on the Buffalo River, Joe David Rice owned one of the longest caves in the Ozarks in his younger days and devoted many hours to exploring the underground terrain. And, as Arkansas’s tourism director for over 30 years, he gained an unequaled familiarity with the state, its people, and Arkansas’s intriguing nuances. A prize-winner in the Ozark Creative Writers Conference, he’s the author of the two-volume Arkansas Backstories: Quirks, Characters, and Curiosities of the Natural State.