A well-written mystery about a unique community imbued with a palpable sense of place.

A Dangerous Remedy

A new sheriff tries to untangle a web of murder, domestic terrorism, and secrets in a debut thriller from Fee.

Matt Callahan arrives in Nicolet County, Michigan, bearing emotional and physical scars after an attack brutally disrupted his life as a Chicago cop. His new jurisdiction, spread across several remote islands in the northern end of Lake Michigan, seems like a good location for rebuilding his life. His tiny, tame department mostly handles issues like traffic control and roadkill removal, and his tenacious deputy, Amanda Gillespie, and kindly dispatcher, Julie Banville, help him navigate the islands’ multigenerational Irish community. But a dark underbelly to this peaceful area becomes apparent when Callahan discovers a body buried in the woods. The victim is not a local, and further investigation by Callahan, Amanda, and Julie uncovers connections to a rape case, a supposedly accidental hunting death, mysterious explosions on Native American land, and domestic and Irish paramilitary groups. The novel stands out for its vivid settings; the carefully described people and places of the wild, beautiful Nicolet County make Callahan’s world feel real. A large cast, from a no-nonsense tribal police chief to a drunk who constantly misplaces his boat to an art thief with only the sweetest of motives, conveys a complex, diverse society without falling into stereotype. The writing is brisk and readable, and short chapters allow the plot to churn along pleasantly. An action-heavy sequence near the book’s close, involving Callahan racing to stop a possible terrorist attack, makes the following quieter resolution of the book’s central mystery feel slightly rushed. A few short segments describing Callahan’s attacker back in Chicago feel out-of-place and unneeded. Callahan himself is an appealing character—no-nonsense, smart, and in denial about how deeply the Chicago attack hurt him—but some moments of impulsive behavior (breaking into a home without a warrant, for example) feel unconvincing for such a thoughtful man. Despite these issues, the book remains well-plotted and highly enjoyable.

A well-written mystery about a unique community imbued with a palpable sense of place.

Pub Date: June 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9985119-1-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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