An earnest first novel from anthologist/storyteller White (American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Stories by Emerging...



An earnest first novel from anthologist/storyteller White (American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Stories by Emerging Writers, Vols. I-IV) that's rooted firmly in the frontier between mystery and mainstream fiction. Desert Storm is in the headlines when Wolfgang Kallick comes from Erfurt to Moosehead Lake, Maine, to find out what happened to his brother Dieter in that other war 45 years ago. The official story is that Dieter, a POW who'd been shipped to the Sheshuncook logging camp, drowned following an escape attempt two months before V-E Day. But Wolfgang has heard rumors that his brother's body had unexplained head wounds, and now he wants to put the case to rest. In upstate Maine, whose denizens hardly talk to neighbors they've known for years, everyone gives Wolfgang the cold shoulder--even old Libby Pelletier, the Country Kitchen owner who'd be more sympathetic if she weren't preoccupied with problems of her own. Libby's been the matriarch of her family since her mother ran off back in 1943, leaving behind her brusquely unsympathetic husband Ambroise and two scared teenagers, Libby and her kid brother Leon. Now Leon, exhausted from his latest bout of d.t.'s, is home from the hospital, and Libby has her hands full, especially when he tells her not to have anything to do with the Kraut. Shortly after, though, Leon himself is found frozen to death, and Libby, frazzled by the obligatory threatening phone calls, the attack on her dog, and the repeated flashbacks to 1945 that engulf her, finally agrees to talk to Wolfgang Kallick--only to find him too another accident victim soon after. With her own brother's blood as well as Wolfgang's crying out for revenge, Libby goes on the offensive, though the revelation she flushes out will surprise only newcomers to the Buried Secret subgenre. The mystery plot is tired and slack, but White's lovely way with Libby's cracked voice may well win his share of crossover readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 1996


Page Count: 224

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996