From Publishers Weekly
The reliable Tapply introduces a new series with a real page-turner set in rural Maine. Stoney Calhoun, "a man without a history," lost his memory in a lightning strike five years earlier. Soon after the accident, Stoney left a rehab hospital in Virginia with a $25,000 check in his pocket from an insurance settlement, drove "Downeast" to live in seclusion along the eponymous creek of the title and began work at Kate Balaban's bait and tackle shop. One morning he foists an unsavory customer planning a wilderness trip onto Lyle McMahan, a local college student and fellow guide, and neither is seen again until Stoney finds Lyle's body floating in an alder swamp with a bullet in his belly. Gnawed by guilt over Lyle's murder, Stoney, with his faithful spaniel, Ralph, searches remote villages, farms and woodlands for his friend's killer, and while doing so, finds clues to his own mysterious past. Tapply's down-to-earth style provides an uncomplicated plot with striking descriptions of Maine's wildest topography, though a far-fetched and excessively violent resolution spoils the rustic mood. Tantalizing questions about Stoney's previous life remain for a future installment.
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Ostensibly the victim of a lightning strike, Stoney Calhoun is a man without a past, or at least a past he can remember. Fleeting memory snippets draw him to rural Maine, where he builds a home by the curiously named Bitch Creek. Time passes, and he becomes close to a small circle of friends in the community: fishing guide Lyle, police chief Dickman, and Kate Balaban, owner of a fish and tackle shop who becomes Stoney's sometime employer and sometime lover. When Stoney finds Lyle dead, after referring a guide job to him, he begins to poke around the case, trying to figure out what happened and why. The more Stoney delves into the incident, the more he comes to realize he was a cop of some sort in his unremembered life. He also learns he has the capacity and training for violence and intimidation. As in his long-running series starring quixotic Boston lawyer-sleuth Brady Coyne, genre veteran Tapply mixes crisp plotting and character development with a subtle sense of time and place. This has the makings of a fine new series. Wes Lukowsky
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