Both the ebook and the paperback can be found on Amazon/Kindle.  You can download the Kindle app for free and use it on any device.  The paperback is also at Half Price Books on 5555 North Lamar Blvd. in Austin, Texas. 

This is the first book of a series of novels centered around Dr. Ruby Stone, a young geologist working for the state of Texas who gets caught up in several murder investigations.  In this book, Dr. Stone is assigned the Barker Creek Removal Site in Oak City, which is located in the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex.  Even though her management has given her the impossible job of recycling the waste at the site, she also has to protect the neighborhoods around the site and get the removal done before the whole place self-ignites.  In the midst of a lot of heavy handed state and local politics, Ruby finds an escaped Border collie puppy named Roo.  After that, Ruby’s life is never the same, and the beginning of Ruby’s and Roo’s adventures together take off.  The racial conflicts of the case remind Ruby of her family's conflicts.  In the end, she has to realize her own biases.  With help from her co-workers, Jeb and Susan, and Ruby’s gay twin sister, Copper, who is a laboratory professor, Ruby stays ahead of the police and helps out all along the way by using her geologic skills and sharp eyes.  The local detective, Detective Rollie Fortier, knows how to run an investigation, but Ruby has a knack of getting in the way, and in more ways than others, testing Rollie’s patience to the max.       


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The forensic team pushed passed me and followed Rollie up the stairs, which led to the office area.  Fascinated, I could not help myself and followed several steps inside the building.  Stopping at a good vantage point, I watched the police. A glass wall separated the office from the mechanic’s bays below.  From their perch, the past management was able to keep an eagle eye on their employees.

Like archeologists at a dig site, the forensic team, wearing gloves, booties and other protective clothing, peeled away each layer of debris, bagged it, and then labeled it.  Once everything had been removed, one of the members of the forensic team sprayed something on the floor and the walls.  Another crew member quickly shone an ultraviolent light on the areas that had been sprayed.  Nothing was found.


Having just been in bright daylight, the darkness was blinding.  When the door was closed behind us, Star zipped past us, startling and causing Susan to reach out for my shoulder and Jeb to reach out for Susan’s shoulder.  We stood for a few seconds, waiting for our eyes to adjust.  Star turned on a nightlight in the kitchen and motioned for us to join her.  Like one big multi-headed centipede, we shuffled to the dimly lit kitchen.  She told us to wait and then disappeared down a dark hallway.  We all jumped when we heard a door open and close. 

Explosions and Fire

CABOOM!  A very loud explosion rocked our SUV.  All the windows of our vehicle crumbled away, as well as the windows of nearby vehicles and neighboring houses.  The policeman was knocked off his motorcycle and landed in the street on his back.  Flames were flying everywhere.  Adam’s patched-together house was on fire!


Jeb started walking away, but then turned around.  He came back at me like he had forgotten his favorite hat at a restaurant.  I searched around to see what he was missing, but he caught me by surprise and gently grabbed me by the shoulders.  Then, he planted his soft and active lips against mine.  I always loved the way Jeb kissed and melted upon impact.


Releasing me, he said, “I missed you.  It’s good to see you again.” 

I was speechless.  I thought I had been tazed.  A few seconds passed before I finally said, “It’s good to see you, too.”


Jeb looked great in his faded button-fly boot-cut jeans and he smelled good, too.  My sensitive nose was my worst enemy.  It meant that my pheromones were firing at a high rate, too.  I felt a strong urge to make continents collide with Jeb again.  Even after two and a half years, he could still make my hot springs bubble. 


I stowed away the tools of my glamorous trade.  As I was turning to go, a marvelous sound touched my ears.  Whenever I heard it, I had to stop and listen.  To me, it was pure music.  I felt sorry for those who never heard the complex notes and various voices.  At first it was a cacophony of ar-roos, woof-woof-aroos, and baa-roos, similar to singers clearing their throats and practicing a scale until they found the right notes.  It was quite a chorus.  Perhaps, even a hundred dogs had joined in.  Usually, there was a cause for such outbursts.  The problem was that there was no ambulance or fire truck siren screaming in the background this time.  Knowing full well there were boogey men out there waiting for me, I still had to find out what was going on anyway.

* * * *

After restraining an eager Roo from chasing two snowy egrets (dogs will be dogs), I switched to investigative mode and seriously inspected the pond.  The man-made wonder was indeed lined with plastic, which had been there a long time. The exposed edges of the plastic were torn and ragged from exposure to the elements.  The edges flapped violently in the wind.  With the clarity of a hawk homing in on her prey, I spotted several dead fish floating on the water, a few feet below where the liner flapped.  Plus, a few feet above the liner, I spied a seep.  

Roo also stopped.  She raised her nose and sniffed the air.  She had become of aware of the dead fish, which had washed up on the shore. 


The scent from dead fish was perfume to dogs, and they usually loved to roll in it. The odor is about as hard to get off as skunk spray, too. 

Roo peered up at me and gave me a look that said, you wouldn’t believe what I just smelled.  I began to laugh, but she startled me with a two quick barks. 


My thoughts faulted and slicken-slides formed on the cell walls of my brain.  I was confused. It was not the modern day riverbed deposits of gravel, sand, and clay from the West Fork of the Trinity that blanketed the site.  Instead, it was made mostly from rocks from an older formation, the Eagle Ford Shale, which consisted of organic-rich, pyritic, and fossiliferous marine grey shale.  The Eagle Ford represented a deep water environment.  There was also a little bit of Austin Chalk, which was a younger formation that overlaid the Eagle Ford.  The Austin Chalk is also much older than the river deposits.  The Austin Chalk represented shallower water than the Eagle Ford and consisted of recrystalized fossiliferous and interbedded chalks and marls.

Are you taking notes?

Now at your local Austin bookstore:

Half Price Book, 5555 N. Lamar Blvd.

Email from a fan:




When the last AWG newsletter came out I saw the info for your One Bark for Murder. What a great read, there’s been a vacuum in this area since Sarah Andrews stopped writing the Em Hansen series.


Truly enjoyed the character development, the geology, the mystery and cannot wait for the next installment.


Great job!!



Shari L. Hilding-Kronforst