Ash Child (Gabriel Du Pre Novels)

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9780312288501: Ash Child (Gabriel Du Pre Novels)
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It's dry season in Montana, and fires blazing west of Touissant have spread to the Wolf Mountains. Métis-Indian fiddler, tracker, and reluctant sleuth Gabriel Du Pré suspects the fires have been intentionally set and are linked to the recent murder of Old Maddy Collins, an eccentric woman found in her living room, her head beaten in with a cast-iron hatchet. Du Pré's suspicions are heightened when two teenagers snooping around Maddy's house turn up dead in the mountains, buried beneath ash and riddled with bullet wounds.

With its sly wit and comic touches, combined with colorful characters and lyrical prose evocative of Montana, Peter Bowen's Ash Child makes for an exceptionally rich and deeply satisfying novel.

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About the Author:

Peter Bowen, a Montanan, writes of the West. Cowboy, hunting and fishing guide, folksinger, poet, essayist, and novelist, he's written the picaresque Yellowstone Kelly historical novels, humor columns and essays on blood sports as Coyote Jack, and the Gabriel Du Pré mysteries, in part because "the Métis are a great people, a wonderful people, and not many Americans know anything about them."

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Maddy Collins, a reclusive woman on the shady side of 80, is found dead in her little house near Toussaint, Montana, an ax driven halfway through her skull. Gabe Du Pre, part-time fiddler and occasional unofficial deputy, offers to help with the investigation. Suspecting that Maddy's murder has something to do with her house, he decides to watch the place; after seeing two teenagers lurking outside, he is knocked unconscious. When Gabe leaves the hospital, the driest season in years has sparked fires in the nearby Wolf Mountains. The firefighters find the two teenagers in one of the culverts, burned beyond recognition. Gabe is sure the death of Maddy, the two teenagers, and the Wolf Mountain fires are all related, but he will have to call on his Metis Indian magic and generations of pioneer common sense to understand the connection. Plot summaries of Gabe Du Pre novels are inevitably inadequate. Bowen's stories are always well constructed and very intelligent, but they are never about whodunit. Like so many outstanding but wildly different crime series, from James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels to Steven Havill's Bill Gastner series, the Du Pre stories are about a vanishing way of life and the determined souls who fight a rear-guard action to keep it alive. Du Pre and his Toussaint neighbors represent a proud rural America that resists the technological tsunami engulfing the land; they roll their own smokes, make music while they drink ditch whiskey, value old friends, and are suspicious of strangers. Don't miss them in this dazzling entry in a wonderful series. Wes Lukowsky
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