Grim first novel, a thriller set on a sunless island on Lake Superior peopled by stunted, duplicitous characters. Chuck left Madeline Island 20 years ago, under a cloud. Had he murdered his wild young wife, when he was a wild young draft- dodger, by driving her out onto the lake ice and letting the car slip through a thin patch? That's bad enough, but it's only part of the cloud over Chuck's head when he brings his new wife, Gretchen, and her smart-talking teenaged daughter, Kara, back to the island for a reading of his dad's will. On the ferry from the mainland to the island, the ferry captain blisteringly berates Chuck for returning to pick over his father's bones. Nobody, it seems, is happy to see Chuck. Meantime, a reading of the will shows that his father, Leo, was in fact the colossal bastard the whole island considered him. Yes, Leo says in his will, the money is gone, gone, gone. What money? Some $60,000 or so that Leo had collected from townsfolk and deposited in a Bahamian bank with promises of large profits for all. But, Leo avers, the bank sank. Sorry. The townspeople don't believe this and quite rightly think that Leo buried the loot. They want to tear his house to pieces. But the old man has left the house to his hard-drinking housekeeper, Mrs. Ford. When she dies, it will revert to Chuck, who can sell it if he wants and start a new life with Gretchen and Kara. Then, of course, the bodies start dropping--including that of Mrs. Ford--and Gretchen and Kara become ever more sure that Chuck is the perp. Should they flee . . . ? A hard, bloody tale, rendered with grisly accuracy. Young Kara, with her drill-boring teenage intelligence, steals the show here. All told, an assured performance that dims any desire to visit Lake Superior.