Kathleen Hills, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (301p) ISBN 978-1-59058-094-3

The deliberate pace of Hills's sophomore effort, set in heavily rural Upper Michigan in the 1950s (after 2002's Past Imperfect ), succeeds perfectly in capturing the complex relationships between insiders and outsiders and the obligations of family and friendship. An argument at a local dance between a rich kid and an Indian youth is prelude to a bizarre murder that sucks Constable John McIntire away from his pleasurable pastime of translating Selma Lagerlöf's The Story of Gösta Berling from Swedish to English. By rights McIntire's role is secondary to that of the state police and Sheriff Pete Koski. But McIntire, prodded by conscience and curiosity, worries the investigation along like a bloodhound. Like an art restorer who uncovers a masterpiece hidden under a later, poorer painting, Hills lovingly clears away the grime and accretions to reveal stunning portraits of the residents of St. Adele, be they native, prodigal or temporary. Glimpses of individual portraits tantalize: the wife desperate to save her heavy-drinking husband; the bereaved mother compulsively baking; the private investigator seemingly more intent on finding uranium than a killer; the ancient recluse living rough and zealously guarding his privacy. But only when the restoration is complete can the viewer (or reader) appreciate the brilliance of the artist's vision. Hills's quiet masterpiece, including its shocking ending, lingers in the mind's eye long after the book is finished. (Jan. 29)

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 01/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-1-59058-275-6
Paperback - 425 pages - 978-1-59058-103-2
Open Ebook - 978-1-4587-1092-5
Open Ebook - 301 pages - 978-1-61595-096-6
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