“Bucky and the Woods Cop” by Jim Stewart from Saints and Sinners 2013: New Fiction from the Festival (Bold Strokes Books).

Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology.

What appears to be going on in this story turns out to be not at all what is actually happening. It’s a wonderfully unpredictable cat-and-mouse tale of two “men’s men”, a conservation officer and the dishwasher for a local diner. CO Woodward Scott is gearing up for the start of hunting season; Joe “Bucky” Campeau is considering an offer made to him by a stranger willing to pay serious dough for a 12-point buck, a trophy to hang on his wall. The man doesn’t even want the deer meat, which Bucky and his grandfather could make good use of all winter.

The stage is set. There’s a good bit of tension-building description—of the men and the setting they are in—and the fact that Officer Scott was a wrestler in the military and Bucky was state wrestling champ in high school plays a key role in the outcome. It’s an entertaining, unusual read.