Wednesday, January 12, 2011
"I was pure as the driven snow, then I drifted." Mae West
Former sheriff Cork O'Connor has done occasional private investigator work. Now he's hired to look for Lauren Cavanaugh by her brother, Max. Max tells Cork that Lauren hasn't been hard from for a week.
Max owns the mining company and Vermillion One is one of the deepest mines. It is being considered as a dumping site for nuclear waste. This is causing heated protests among the locals.
After meeting with other mine officials, Max asks Cork to look at something in Vermillion One. They enter the mine and find a note spray painted on the wall, "We die, you die."
Since no one saw the person who did the spray painting, enter the mine, Cork thinks that there must be another enterance. While he is searching for this, deep in the mine he finds a room with six bodies. Five of the bodies have been there for many years but one has only recently been placed there. This reminds Cork of The Vanishings.
In 1964, seventeen-year-old Naomi Stonedeer vanished, then Fawn Grand, a special child who was related to Cork, disappeared and finally there was a rich white woman, Monique Cavanaugh, Lauren's mother.
In a story deep with Indian folk lore, Cork speaks to his ancient friend, Henry Meloux. Despite advanced age, Henry can sense things. He tells Cork that he knows that things are stirred up at the reservation and tells Cork who to speak to to identify the other two bodies found in the mine.
It is interesting that Cork's father was the sheriff when the vanishings were happening. It creates a moral dilemma for Cork to consider if his father could be involved. In his investigation, he obtains his mother's journals and tries to learn more of what was happening at the time.
As always with William Kent Krueger, there is details about the Ojibwe culture and beliefs. He is well described and the story is told as if the pieces were put together like parts of a menu that is eventually laid out for the reader to learn and be entertained by its realistic detail.
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