cover image Dark Coulee

Dark Coulee

Mary Logue. Walker & Company, $23.95 (231pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-3351-1

Claire Watkins, deputy sheriff of Pepin County, Wis., makes a strong second showing (after 1999's Blood Country) that ought to gain her new fans. In spite of recurrent panic attacks associated with the death of her husband, Claire is starting to find the peace and security she's been seeking for herself and her 10-year-old daughter, Meg, since leaving her promising career with the St. Paul-Minneapolis police department for the small bluff town of St. Antoine. One summer evening, while her sister Bridget takes care of Meg, Claire and Rich Haggard, a local pheasant farmer she's been dating for three months, attend a street dance in nearby Little Rock. Just as the fun gets under way, screams for help stop the music and put romance on hold. Someone has stabbed well-liked farmer Jed Spitzler in the chest. Members of the close-knit St. Antoine community join Jed's children in searching for Jed's killer. Long-hidden town secrets are revealed as Claire seeks the truth and continues to struggle with her own demons. Logue uses her talents as a poet to depict smalltown life and give rich insights into the hearts of her characters, from the kindly retired school teacher, Ella Gunderson, to the troubled children of Jed Spitzler. Claire performs her duties with intelligence, skill and caring, and readers are left at the conclusion only wanting more. Agent, Jane Chelius. (Nov.)