A sort of mystery story.
This is vintage Richards. The book is the slow solving of a riddle about events that occurred 20 years ago.
Sad and haunting with what might have been. A continuation of The Lost Highway with one of the main characters ( Marcus Paul). Can't wait for another one.
A rollicking good story about a death by accident in Burnt Church and the slow unravelling of the mystery of how he died. Was it an acident. Characters are mostly native.
Wow, can Richards ever write. This book moves back and forth between events in 1985 and 2006/7. In 1985 Markus Paul was a young man, living with his grandfather on the reserve. His grandfather Amos Paul was chief and Markus Paul was in love with a young woman Sky who lived nearby with her grandmother and younger brother, Little Joe.
When a young native man, Hector, is killed in what seems at first to be an accident his first day on the job loading ships rumours start, and soon fingers at pointed at another young white man, Roger Savage, who was waiting for a chance to work that day. This novel follows the search for what really happened to Hector, and what a number of people do as a result of his death. One of these is Amos, a careful man with a good heart. Another is Isaac, a middle-aged man who seemed destined to be chief one day. Another is Joel, Hector's older brother, who has often been in trouble with the law before. And we also have Roger himself, and a young reporter Max Doran, who is excited about the assignment to cover this story, but not experienced enough to see the pitfalls.
This is a book about how small actions have great outcomes, and these actions are laid out one by one before us, gradually revealing the truth and the politics, prejudice and beliefs that led to each action.
Years later Markus Paul is an RCMP officer still searching for the truth about what happened back in 1985, still haunted by it. When he finally discovers the truth, it is surprising and yet one can see how it all seemed inevitable. Richards is an author that seems to see into characters and show the complexities of them. A novel that will haunt you.
A good read -- both as a mystery story and as a Canadian novel.
"A chilling, complicated account of the twisting of truth surrounding one man's death near Burnt Church, New Brunswick, in the mid-1980s, the book is trademark Richards: sharply detailed settings, a plot thick with intrigue and a soaring narrative arc that stirs the tensions simmering under the shell of a community - all make a fitting stage for the author's greatest accomplishments: his men."
Reviewed by Stephen Patrick Clare
Sharp April 2011
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