From Publishers Weekly
The deliberate pace of Hills's sophomore effort, set in heavily rural Upper Michigan in the 1950s (after 2002's Past Imperfect), succeeds perfectly in capturing the complex relationships between insiders and outsiders and the obligations of family and friendship. An argument at a local dance between a rich kid and an Indian youth is prelude to a bizarre murder that sucks Constable John McIntire away from his pleasurable pastime of translating Selma Lagerlf's The Story of Gsta Berling from Swedish to English. By rights McIntire's role is secondary to that of the state police and Sheriff Pete Koski. But McIntire, prodded by conscience and curiosity, worries the investigation along like a bloodhound. Like an art restorer who uncovers a masterpiece hidden under a later, poorer painting, Hills lovingly clears away the grime and accretions to reveal stunning portraits of the residents of St. Adele, be they native, prodigal or temporary. Glimpses of individual portraits tantalize: the wife desperate to save her heavy-drinking husband; the bereaved mother compulsively baking; the private investigator seemingly more intent on finding uranium than a killer; the ancient recluse living rough and zealously guarding his privacy. But only when the restoration is complete can the viewer (or reader) appreciate the brilliance of the artist's vision. Hills's quiet masterpiece, including its shocking ending, lingers in the mind's eye long after the book is finished.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In his second appearance, township constable John McIntire helps investigate the death of the son of one of the summer residents at the exclusive Shawanok Fishing Club in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Eighteen-year-old Bambi Morlen is found dead and partially scalped after a fistfight with a local boy, Marvin Wall, a Native American. Is Marvin the murderer, or is it Bambi's best friend, or even his own parents? Complicating matters, the autopsy finds Bambi was stabbed and poisoned in addition to being scalped. McIntire reluctantly assists the sheriff of Flambeau County with the investigation, but all leads seem to peter out, and Bambi's parents are distant and unhelpful. Although McIntire is disturbed by the arrival of his aunt Siobhan, bringing up unresolved issues about his past, he perseveres. An honorable, likable main character; a good sense of place and time; quirky, well-developed secondary characters; and a complex plot with numerous twists--it all adds up to an enjoyable addition to what is quickly becoming a fine series. Sue O'BrienCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved