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Running Dark

(Woods Cop Mysteries #4)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  418 ratings  ·  35 reviews

Grady Service is back. And this time the scene is dicier than ever. We go back in time twenty-five years to meet Service as a young conservation officer. He's still fresh from Vietnam, but he's on his home turf now. Service is good at his new job and he's been tapped for an unusual assignment that threatens to be his last. It's the height
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Lyons Press (first published 2005)
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  418 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Scott Rhee
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Having visited, briefly, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (affectionately called the U.P. by inhabitants, who affectionately call themselves Yoopers), I can see why the region also goes by another name, mostly by those living south of the Mackinac Bridge (the only road connecting the U.P. from the rest of the state): the Upper Peculiar.

I suppose one would have to be a little peculiar to want to live in a sparsely populated area of (admittedly beautiful) deep woods, lakes and ponds, and unbearably
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I seem to have missed a book in the series; Chasing A Blond Moon which is Woods Cop #3 and went to this one, #4 in the series. I don't think it is much of a problem but Blond Moon is now on my purchase list.

Heywood takes us back in time to when Grady Service was a young, headstrong but able rookie conservation officer. He's given his beloved Mosquito area but is soon pulled off of that to undertake a special assignment as part of the COs trying to make inroads into the Garden Peninsula where the
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was my second Woods Cop mystery. I enjoy them mostly because of my love for the UP, but I also enjoy the characters. This one threw me for a loop with an abrupt jump 30 years into the future about the next to last chapter. It made sense, but a smoother transition might have helped. I'm beginning to think the main character's name is Service because that's what he seems to do with a large number of female characters, stretching the bounds of credibility. Either that or maybe I should be spen ...more
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Another good Woods Cop mystery! This was a good read, but I feel that I am particularly interested in these Woods Cop mysteries simply because of my ties to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I enjoy these books because I am very familiar with all of places described in the story. It provides a certain level of nostalgia for me as I remember my personal adventures in the woods of the UP. I don't know if someone unfamiliar with the setting would enjoy it as much as I did. However, it's a good mystery wi ...more
Tessa in Mid-Michigan
Irony. We have camped in the target area of this book, and our stay was not pleasant. The campground was fine, but it was Saturday night and the trucks roared by all night, sometimes with horns. Then the train went through about 3 am. Hmm. I think there was a plane, too, towards morning.

So Sunday we tried to take a nap but someone was riding an airboat all around the bay. Have you ever heard one of those? We were fairly irritated by the time we got home from our “restful” trip to the UP. Haven’t
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This 4th book in this series takes us back to 1975, when Grady Service first became a Conservation Officer. The story of Grady's early days with the force, as he follows in his father's footsteps, was fast paced, as the officers try to apprehend a group of men who are illegally pursuing commercial fishing in Lake Michigan. An on-going battle ensues between the renegade fishermen, and the officers attempting to enforce the state's conservation laws. I enjoyed the author's development of Grady's c ...more
M. Sprouse
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Truly a very good read. Probably four and a half stars, but there's no such thing on this site. This book could be titled, Grady Service: The Early Years. Though on the surface it's about the conflict between the DNR and professional poachers from "The Garden," this book is more about the character of our boy Grady. It lacks the suspense of most thrillers and it's certainly not a mystery. However, Officer Service and an array of diverse characters sucks you in and never lets you go. Since I can' ...more
Dave Hoff
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good story of the DNR officers and the poachers. Could live without some of the choice of words. But towns, roads, and Yooper talk brings back memories of working in the UP. As the story line seemed to drift from before his first book, til time of publication, a bit confusing but doesn't take from the dare-a-do of a game warden doing things he learned in 'Nam and as a state trooper.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good enough I'll likely read the next in the series. It was interesting hearing the history of the Garden Peninsula in the UP. My primary complaint would be how it seems women are running out of their ways to throw themselves at Grady Service; in fact, I'm not sure there was a female character who didn't sleep with him...
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my favorite of the first 4 books. Very interesting and exciting story, and characters in the UP certainly are unique. After reading this book, it's surprising that Grady is still among the living! ;-) The things that happen to that guy!
Patricia Litz
Mar 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Did not finish. Too much description. Like the geography lesson. Politics with laws for game wardens and no help in doing their jobs. Too exasperating that they were left to defend themselves and no help from the sheriffs.
Merna Malmberg
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting read. Learned abou

Interesting read!
Christine Braybrook
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Took me a while to read this great book, and now I have finished; it was another interesting book of Joseph Heywood's.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
#4 in the Woods Cop series. At the end of the previous series entry Chasing a Blond Moon (2003), Grady was told that due to a manpower shortage, he would have to assist in patrolling the fish runs along the notorious Garden Peninsula during the upcoming season. In the current entry, Grady does patrol the peninsula, with a twist. Running Dark (2005) is a prequel and takes Grady back 30 years to the beginning of his career as a Conservation Officer when he gets sent undercover on the peninsula. Th ...more
Ron Raymond
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Joseph Heywood has done a well documented historical experience dealing with Grady Service's career as a conservation officer, from his beginnings in the Mosquito area along with the Garden Peninsula. All of this in trying to some balance between Lansing's corruption and enforcing the law amongst poachers of the U.P. Truly a passenger seat type of experience to navigate from one end of the U.P. to another, especially if you been in the U.P. and recognize the familiar landmarks described!
Jul 12, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was almost a 4. But the Yooper dialect throughout the first half was overpowering in its quantity. I live in Michigan, have heard the dialect all my life, and could even mentally attach the accents and inflections to it--Hayward did a good job of capturing it. But it took me quite a bit of extra time to puts his written words with the sounds in my brain. Probably a really nit-picky point, since it was so well done, but there it is.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love this series that takes place in the U.P. This is the fourth in the series and the characters and the storylines keep getting better. Like the U.P. leaves in the fall, as cheesy as this sounds, the plot and the characters are definitely colorful and believable. Crisp dialogue and well-developed plot moves these stories along. Can't wait to move on to the next installment.
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Grady Service, great series, can't wait to read the next one. This book features Service from the mid-1970s. Nice way to learn more about Grady's past and features chasing "Rat" fisherman. If you like Northern Michigan LP or UP this series would interest you.
Apr 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great book in the series, real interesting to hear more of his history and some real michigan history as well. Well written and taught, just as imaginary as the others but with plenty historical information as well.
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
4th in the series. I liked this book, but probably not as much as the others. Still, a strong addition to the series. The story was a bit unexpected, but it gave a lot of great insight to the main character - lots of what we hadn't known prior to this book.
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great story that flashes back to the beginning of Grady's role as a CO. fighting poaching of fish in the waters on south side of the UP. Then back to Maridly and Walter in his life for the last couple of chapters.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I continue to really enjoy this series. Very well-balanced mysteries, with themes that appeal to me - the outdoors, fishing, hunting, and the Upper Peninsula. Heywood writes crisply, and this book moves at a very good pace.
Jim Graczyk
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
very entertaining with a some nice plot twists. If you like Joe Pickett you will like this. I find the woods cop series actually to be a bit more realistic and in depth regarding a game warden's duties and activities.
Aug 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the wood cop series but this was a little disappointing. somewhat of a historical piece, it did not have the edge the other books did
Michael Higgins
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Grady Service is fresh out of the marines and starting life as a CO in the UP. A good start to a great series.
Neenah Lynch
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was slower read than earlier books but that was because I was paying attention to the little details.
Terry Gallagher
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
I like the Yoo Pee setting, but this one suffers from some verisimilitude issues (e.g. anachronism), and a character learns a lesson through exposition, not narration. Not what I'm looking for.
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm trying to read J. Heywood's books in order. This one was my least favorite so far. It just dragged on and on.
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Good series. Heywood has excellent character development and always a twist to the plot! Service is an unusual but like-able character.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
The books should really be read in order. Very good story and much info about fish spawns and poaching. Having read the next book before, the end is bitter sweet.
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See also Joe T. Heywood

Joseph Heywood is the son of a career USAF officer. His dad was from Rhinecliff, New York on the Hudson River in Dutchess County, and his mother is from Mize, Mississippi in Sullivan County. His mother’s maiden name was Hegwood and she had only to change one letter to convert to her married name.

He is a 1961 graduate of Rudyard High School in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Chi

Other books in the series

Woods Cop Mysteries (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Ice Hunter (Woods Cop, #1)
  • Blue Wolf in Green Fire (Woods Cop, #2)
  • Chasing A Blond Moon (Woods Cop, #3)
  • Strike Dog (Woods Cop, #5)
  • Death Roe (Woods Cop, #6)
  • Shadow of the Wolf Tree (Woods Cop, #7)
  • Force of Blood (Woods Cop, #8)
  • Killing a Cold One (Woods Cop, #9)
  • Buckular Dystrophy (Woods Cop #10)
  • Bad Optics (Woods Cop #11)