The Adventures of San Francisco's Favorite Native Son
When a blue whale is struck by a research vessel off the north coast of California, the enigmatic Chang Sandoval, San Francisco Building Inspector, is catapulted nearly two-hundred miles north, into the heart of a mystery surrounding a struggling company town perched on Pacific cliffs and its captive whale.
The inspector’s morning begins with a profound discovery embedded in a historic seawall’s rip rap on the San Francisco waterfront. By day’s end, Chang is lured far beyond his city’s limits and well outside his jurisdiction to uncover the obscure connection between a remote beach house on a 125-year old sheep farm and the decomposing marine mammal at the foot of its cliffs before the sea reclaims its own.
Set on the Mendocino Coast against the backdrop of a failing fishing fleet, illegal cannabis grows and the town of Fort Bragg in a fight to reclaim its own shoreline, a simple ‘red tag’ leads Chang to the cliffs above what locals call Chicken Cove while his old friend Harrison watches his back and his estranged wife shadows his every move.
Inspired by a true story, 'The Case of the Rotting Whale' is the first in this modern mystery series with an environmental justice twist featuring Chang Sandoval, Building Inspector.
"It was one of those nights where the fog paints you right onto the pavement. You know those nights; I know you do. Steel streetcar wheels squealing against the tracks up Market Street; raspy voices of taxi horns and faint sirens; lights from the new bridge strung like dull pearls bleeding through the mist - and the smell. If I told you I liked the smell, I think you would understand. I'll never come clean of it, that mixture of old mudflats and dreams."
Pally, a pub regular, was happy to show Chang his route as he wheeled from the bar past the men's urinals, through an unmarked door which led to a caged storage cooler full of beer kegs. On the far metal-skinned wall, double doors opened to a loading dock.
"Fitz put that in for me," said the grizzled patron in the off-brand wheelchair as he pointed to the handrail-less plywood ramp that connected the street level with the dock.
Chang was speechless.
The Dillon outpost was a far cry from the toothy farm shacks that randomly dotted the coastal farms of the North Coast. Chang admired the modern vernacular structure in tune with the headlands and cypress forest, its confident perch not twenty yards from the cliff face that dropped to the thundering Pacific below.