“Author R Lawson Gamble has published the 10th novel in his “Zack Tolliver, FBI” series titled “TULARE.” The long awaited novel is now on pre-sale at Amazon.com. The longest book of the series, so far, takes the reader from the Navajo Nation, where the story begins, to California’s Central Valley, where Tolliver and Eagle Feather attempt to solve the mysterious deaths of an entire family of Yokut Indians, and their dog, while seated at the dinner table in their home.”
STAR: How did this story idea come to you?”
GAMBLE: I had visited the Tachi Palace Casino in the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Lemoore, California several times, which set up an idea for a new storyline.”
STAR: Where does the name TULARE come from?
GAMBLE: A little known fact about the Central Valley is that Tulare Lake used to be the largest lake west of the Great Lakes. Its shores were inhabited by the Yokut Indians with an abundance of wildlife and fish.
STAR: What happened to it?
GAMBLE: The encroachment of Europeans and their industries contributed to the disappearance of the lake. It dried up after its tributary rivers were diverted for agricultural irrigation and municipal water uses.
STAR: How does the fate of Tulare Lake fit in your storyline?
GAMBLE: I feel the now vanished lake serves as a metaphor for the fate of the Yokuts, once populous, but now absorbed and gone, but for a preserved representation who now live on the Santa Rosa Rancheria. The mystery of how the Yokut family died speaks to the ongoing repression faced by underprivileged peoples.
STAR: This is the longest book in your series so far.
GAMBLE: Yes. I started writing this book last Fall. Basically, it took me a year because the protagonist kept going, and the more he investigated, the more there was to investigate. In essence the book didn’t want to be finished, it kept revealing more and more.
STAR: This is the tenth novel in the series. Where do all your ideas come from?
GAMBLE: I’m always exploring new topography and find inspiration exploring deep canyons and hot deserts as a distance runner. They stimulate my creativity. As I go deeper into research, I always find something fascinating. That’s the fun. That’s how you discover the magic.

The above article in its entirety can be found in the SPOTLIGHT section of the September 20 – October 3, 2022 edition of the Santa Ynez Valley Star. It is written by Pamela Dozois. TULARE may be purchased on Amazon.com.


  1. Reading this description of Tulare has made me even more impatient for the book to become available! I’m delighted to see another beautiful, haunting cover that’s similar in style to the previous covers.
    What first intrigued me about the Yokuts was a mysterious artifact associated with them. It’s commonly known as a charmstone and resembles a gorgeous, abstract dove. Similar artifacts have been found in northern California and in other southern tribal groups. However, it seems that the classic shape is specifically connected to the Yokuts. Archaeologists don’t know what these beautiful stone objects were used for. Were they fishnet plummets? Hunting, fishing or fertility amulets? A shamanic tool? Many have been found in the area of Lake Tulare. I can’t wait to find out if they appear in your book!

    • Thanks for this. While the charmstone does not appear in TULARE, it is certainly an object of interest. The cache found south of the Tulare Lake site suggests to me a use particularly aligned with fishing and hunting. Some with drilled holes resemble net weights while others with better articulated necks suggest a hanging talisman. Fascinating.

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