‘Lost Oasis’ is eighth in writer’s Zack Tolliver southwestern crime mystery series

By Pamela Dozois

R. Lawson Gamble (Rich) has just published his much-anticipated eighth book in the Zack Tolliver southwestern crime mystery series titled “Lost Oasis,” a non-stop action thriller.

In this book, FBI agent Zack Tolliver and his trusted friend and expert tracker, Eagle Feather, find themselves embroiled in a first-class mystery involving modern science, high technology, and deeply rooted cultures and ancient rituals. They are called upon to investigate the sudden and mysterious disappearance of a world-class scientist in the goblin rocks and desolate flats of the Eagle Mountains, surrounded by Joshua Tree National Park. When someone plants a bomb in his Jeep the day he arrives, Tolliver begins a desperate duel with an unknown assassin who may very well be more than his match. 

“I’ve gone to Palm Springs many times because I like to run in the heat and in the desert,” said Gamble, a long-distance runner. “I’d always wanted to visit Joshua Tree and on one of my last visits I was delighted to discover there were a lot of beautiful trails up there. It’s a great place to run, except that the trails are too short. So, I went to the Ranger Station and got special permission to go past the barrier for a long-distance run, which took me to a place called ‘Hidden Oasis.’ Looking down the arroyo, I saw a virtual Garden of Eden filled with palm trees. It was in this desert wilderness that I was inspired to write this book.”

Gamble had participated in the Joshua Tree Half-Mile Marathon which takes place at night. Two thousand five hundred people run it by only the light from the headlamps worn on their foreheads.

“The marathon begins just as darkness falls and the moon rises,” said Gamble. “When you look back all you can see in the darkness is a snake of headlamps worn by the runners in the marathon. Absorbing the atmosphere, the coldness of the night and the desolateness of the area, my imagination kicks in and I’m off to write another book, at least until the last few miles when I’m just trying to survive and complete the race.”

“One interesting point is that while I was writing the plot of ‘Lost Oasis,’ conjuring up the most vicious and villainous characters, through my research, I was so shocked to discover a real-life parallel of the nefarious activities that I’d imagined for my plot. My story line happened in real life, here in California,” said Gamble. “I couldn’t believe what I was reading; it was all there.”

The story also incorporates the Chemehuevi, a division of the Southern Paiute Tribe whose legends include flying runners and the trails they run, which are featured in their songs. These songs are passed down through generations.

Gamble is working on the ninth book in the series, which is still untitled. He says it will be a little different this time, relating more to human frailties than he has done in the past. He is also the author of “The History of Los Alamos” as well as the “Johnny Alias” series, all of which can be purchased through Amazon and at local bookstores.

“Writing novels is my third career,” said Gamble. “It’s something I love to do. I write every morning, rain or shine, 365 days a year.”

For more information, visit rlawsongamble.com or rlawsongamble/author page on Amazon.