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Stone and Silt Paperback – July 31, 2013
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About the Author
Harvey Chute grew up in the Fraser Canyon village of Lytton, British Columbia - a town rich in native culture and colonial gold rush history. In his high school and university years, Harvey spent his summers guiding whitewater raft trips on the Thompson and Fraser rivers. He works as a program manager for an Information Technology consulting firm. Harvey also created the web's largest independent Kindle user forum, KBoards.com, which is popular with both readers and authors. Harvey lives in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife, three daughters, a lovable golden retriever, and a stern cat. He enjoys walking mountain trails, learning blues guitar, and being surrounded by great books. Harvey's previously published works include five technical guides in the "For Dummies" series by Wiley Inc.
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Top customer reviews
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The story starts out slow-paced up until chapter 7, as much of it is backstory and engrossing the reader of the day-to-day life of Nikaia and her family, as well as the lives of other people in the town of Fort Yale, B.C. where much of the story takes place. Not much really going on pacing-wise, but the author does a great job in going into details about what life was like for people of various races and creeds during the 1860s Gold Rush era.
After chapter 8, however, the story's pacing immediately quickens and things begin to fall in place. Nikaia, a 16 year-old girl, is on a mission to save her family, and attempt to clear her father's name from a serious crime. She ends up finding help in some unlikeliest of places as a result. The story becomes an instant page-turner with action, mystery, some heart-wrenching moments, and even a bit of love. My only complaint about the story was Nikaia's younger sister, Klima. It was difficult to determine her age because sometimes she acts older like a teen (such as handling a boat by herself), and most times she acts like a small child (such as asking a bunch of trivial questions to adults). Whereas Nikaia maintained the same maturity level as a 16 year-old throughout the book.
'Stone & Silt' reads a lot like a cozy mystery, and the author does a great job in dropping a few hints here and there which builds up for the end as you try to guess 'whodunit'.
The author presents some great imagery of the Fraser Canyon during the Gold Rush years as Nikaia's family travels to and from Fort Yale to Lytton. We also learn a lot about the First Nations people (or 'Native Indians' as the author refers in the book) and their rich customs.
'Stone & Silt' is a story for all ages that also leaves behind a great message of the importance and value of family. This story was written from the author's heart, and it shows.
M. C. Llaurador
Looking forward to Mr. Chute's next effort.
The murder mystery plot was exciting, dangerous, and stressful to read. There were many twists and turns on the way to the resolution. Nikaia, Klima, and Yee Sim were very resourceful and clever. But, my favorite parts were the everyday background details and the interactions between Nikaia's family and friends. I loved the way the consequences of Nikaia's choices led to her father giving her the nickname Mischief. Her relationships with her family, friends, and community were authentic. Mr. Chute's vivid descriptions of Fort Yale, British Columbia, and the Fraser River brought them to life and made them seem like a "real" character. The telling of Nikaia's mountain quest, the Anybody Boat, Charlie Ray's trap line experience, Annie Adams' basket weaving, and other stories brought realism to the book by teaching meaningful lessons to characters, and providing insight into the culture of the First Nations people and pioneer life during the gold rush. I also enjoyed the tentative, developing feelings between Nakaia and Yee Sim. I was glad to read in an interview that there are plans for a follow-up novel with many of the same characters.
Mr. Chute states in his author's note, "This story is my homage, my love letter, to the people of the Fraser Canyon, past and present." That's how reading Stone and Silt felt to me.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **