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Nails: A Montana Mystery Featuring Gabriel Du Pr

Peter Bowen, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (226p) ISBN 978-0-312-31207-7

The 13th entry in Bowen's admirable, highly original Gabriel Du Pré series (after 2005's Stewball ) features his most followable plot in years as well as unusually forthright social commentary on such topics as the war in Iraq, the evolution debate and the sort of religious fundamentalism that too often begets violence. Du Pré, a Métis Indian, ignores the speed limit, smokes hand-rolled cigarettes and drinks whisky like it was water. He also plays fiddle like an angel, takes care of his friends and defends the weak with equal passion. When the body of a child is found by the road and a colony of religious zealots moves into the Toussaint, Mont., area, Du Pré isn't the only one who suspects a connection, but he's the one who uncovers the truth, all of it framed in the deep-down sadness of a small town dying around the edges. Meandering through the core story line are sweet little storylets that don't go anywhere, but still make us smile. In addition, most of the oddball characters beloved by Bowen fans are on hand, as charming as ever. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/05/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
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