Sunday, February 21, 2016

NOTCHES by Peter Bowen






     "Madelaine reached up and touched Du Pré on the cheek.
     "'Everybody is our people,' said Madelaine. 'We are Métis.'
     "Du Pré nodded. that was true. The Mixed Bloods. That is pretty much everybody."
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     "I ask for many things. I ask for strength and cunning. I ask for courage. I ask for a warrior's heart. The heart of a warrior is his humility, the strength of the tribe is the warrior's humility. We are very small on this earth but we have our place."
                                  Gabriel Du Pré's song in the sweat lodge.

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In Peter Bowen's Notches, Gabriel Du Pré hunts a serial killer.

Someone is leaving the murdered, mutilated bodies of young women in narrow wave-cut gorges, "notches," at the end of back roads off the highway.

The Métis see women as at the heart of their culture. To murder a woman is a crime against creation.

Du Pré works with two unusual FBI agents and a long haul truck driver to solve the murders. The long haul truck driver's sister was among the victims.

Also, among the victims is Du Pré's common-law wife Madelaine's niece.

Du Pré's problem is that Madelaine wants him to murder the ones killing "her babies."

In a humorous scene in a book with a lot of humor, Madelaine destroys her kitchen. She pelts Du Pré with pans and plates and cutlery (including sharp knives) because she believes he is going to work with the law instead of committing murder.

Du Pré is not a cold-blooded killer. So far he has only killed one man, and that man in self-defense. He still regrets the killing. But Madeline insists he kill. She says, "You make my babies safe. You make everybody safe again, Du Pré."

Peter Bowen steeps Notches in Métis culture. Bowen grounds the book in Montana's mountainous beauty. His story reaches back into the Canadian history of the Métis.

For me, nothing quite compares to Peter Bowen's Gabriel Du Pré books.

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