Upper Peninsula lawman Steve Martinez solves murders rooted in an old local secret.
The discovery of a corpse in a Porcupine County forest raises a bit of interest, and gives state police detective Alex Kolehmainen another chance to amiably tease small-town deputy Steve Martinez about his meager resources and inexperience with major crimes. Steve, a full-blooded Lakota Indian, is in charge of the small law enforcement team for the remote county in a northern corner of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. When the corpse is identified as minor mob enforcer Danny Impellitteri, Alex passes the case on to the FBI. Steve, however, files it away for further consideration. A second corpse, that of local Frank Saarinen, who worked at the Venture Copper Mine, prompts Steve to investigate further. Steve’s interview with mine owner Morrie Weinstein leaves several unanswered questions, and his research into the mine’s history reveals past unsolved crimes. Meanwhile, Steve’s blossoming romance with sometime-sleuthing sidekick Ginny Fitzgerald hits an unlikely snag when drunken divorcee Mary Ellen Garrigan sets her sexual sights on him. Her increasingly persistent advances become impossible to ignore or laugh off.
Chicago Sun-Times books editor Kisor’s second Martinez mystery (Season’s Revenge, 2003) has the same strengths and weaknesses as the first: strong characters, warm, confident prose and a rambling plot.