THE TRICKSTER by Muriel Gray


Email this review


 Intolerance and archetypal horror entwine like snakes in this gripper set in the Canadian Rockies: a first from Scottish TV broadcaster Gray. Sam Hunt, born Sam Hunting Wolf, denies his Kuinchinkic inheritance and language, runs off from his family and reservation at age 15, now lives with whites, and has been happily married for ten years. Sam's secret: He wears an amulet that sets him aside as the shaman who must defend the Siouan tribes against the Tricksteran evil fiend once buried in Wolf Mountain but released from its prison in 1907 when Scottish railroad gangs blew holes in the mountain while building the Great Corkscrew Tunnel. Sam's grandfather and father were also the shamans defending the tribes against the Trickster. Now the Trickster is back and bloodying the slopes where Sam works as a manual groomer for the Silver Ski Company: He grooms snow on bare spots and bad places for skiers. His snappish temper has already cost him five jobs, and this one too is on the line. But Sam has been having blackouts at the very times the Trickster is butchering victims and stuffing hearts up anuses, as well as penises into mouths, when, that is, not tearing folks limb from limb. The Trickster can take human form or the shapes of beasts, but is at heart a fiend made of mud, ice, and stone that eats human flesh. He is, of course, an evil figure from the racial unconscious of both whites and Indians, but he is especially intent on Sam, who denies the Trickster's existence and his own role in fighting him. Without fail, though, police work leads to Sam, who must face his destiny in the Great Corkscrew Tunnel. Marvelously strong on dialogue, Indian lore, and detail of any kind, Gray seems born with muscles and handles herself like a Tyson eager to k.o. King and Koontz. May she instead avoid the bear trap clichÇs of genre fiction and go mainstream.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-47786-4
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1995