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In the tiny village of Caperucita Roja, Mexico, in a laneway just off the main square, stands an old wall. Plaster-cracked and hung with bougainvillea, it’s been painted with a picture of nine running wolves. The image is faded nearly invisible, but the right words can turn the wolves loose—and once set free, they can’t be called back.

A thousand miles north, in Santa Teresa, California, the beach pavilion is in full swing. The oceanfront is overflowing with good bourbon and hot neon, and the Mills Brothers are headlining at the Montelindo Hotel. The sun is warm, the swimming pools are blue—and the very worst fairy tales are coming to life.

This is Springtime 1948—perfume and color so real you’ll want to stay. The wolves are running, and Annie’s back.

Author Bob Bickford spent sometime with The Big Thrill offering insight into his latest thriller, THE ORANGE GROOVE:

Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?

This is California noir, with all the classic cues that made us fall in love with Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald. It’s in color though, not black and white…and just like in real life, remarkable women do all the heavy lifting.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope they have fun, and disappear. Readers are the magic, and the keepers of spells. Writers just mix colored powders and hope for the best.

What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book, or your work in general?

“Is this a true story?” Yes. The best stories are always true.


When he was little, Bob Bickford haunted the library. He hunted for good stories, found himself lost in pages, and daydreamed about becoming a writer. When he grew older, real life got in the way and paychecks became more urgent than classes or degrees. The dream was filed under “impossible things,” and nearly forgotten. After years spent in various corners of the United States and Canada, he dusted off his imagination and became a writer-by-night. He hunts for good stories once again, and he still haunts the library.

To learn more about Bob and his work, please visit his website.