Friday, April 22, 2016

STICK GAME by Peter Bowen






Peter Bowen's The Stick Game is not a mystery. It is a story about the rape of Native American sacred land.

Gabriel Du Pré's lover Madelain asks Du Pré to look for a missing person. Madelaine's cousin Jeanne's son Danny has run away. He has been suffering memory loss. His behavior has changed greatly.

Du Pré finds Danny's body down a well. He has committed suicide.

As Du Pré traces the story, he finds that a mining operation is poisoning Montana's Sweet Grass Hills. The miners do something which sounds similar to fracking. They insert cyanide-laced water into the ground to leach out the small otherwise-unminable bits of gold. Then the cyanide flows into the groundwater ending up in the drinking water of the poorest people in the area.

Du Pré gathers the experts he needs to try to fight the crime.

Along the way he plays his Metis music at several festivals, works with Bart to help Jeanne deal with her alcoholism, watches Jeanne play the gambling hide-and-seek stick game, and fights to put together the case which will help him save the land.

As always, Bowen writes in his terse style, all the expected characters are on board, and the story centers on the Metis culture.

For mystery lovers, this book might be a disappointment. But if you love these characters, and if you appreciate Bowen's style, then you should enjoy The Stick Game.

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