Long Son

Peter Bowen, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (246p) ISBN 978-0-312-19917-3
With his distinctive, minimalist prose, Bowen (Thunder Horse, etc.) once again transports readers to the vast open spaces of Montana, in the sixth entry of his Gabriel Du Pr series. Sociopath Larry Messmer has returned to Toussaint, Mont., to take over the ranch his parents left him after their deaths in a tragic accident. Long despised and feared by residents for his cruelty, Messmer appears to be part of an organization intent on setting up some nefarious business on the ranch. At the request of a friend in the FBI, local Native American Du Pr begins looking into the matter and discovers a long history of violence and murder. When Messmer himself is slain, however, his associates think Du Pr is responsible, and he becomes the target of their revenge. Bowen's writing is lean and full of mordant observations. His hardy characters--tough teachers, smart barmaids, rambunctious children, wise-cracking men--come to life, and his wry humor (""How come things that are good for you taste terrible?"" a little girl asks, and Madelaine responds: ""That is how you tell."") provides relief from the haunting, wind-bitten cattle-ranch landscape. Bowen incorporates M tis folklore and history to great effect, and he provides an unsentimental, galvanizing portrait of life in small-town Montana. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
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