In modern-day Montana, brushfires, meth dealers, and murder challenge a deputy in a mystery that’s “a pleasure to read” (Publishers Weekly).
In the midst of a drought in Toussaint, Montana, Métis Indian tracker and cattle investigator Gabriel Du Pré learns that Maddy Collins has been killed—and goes looking for answers.
Du Pré suspects a pair of boys who, despite their good upbringing, have fallen in with a gang of crystal meth dealers. Not long after the murder, they vanish. As the town is threatened by a forest fire, Du Pré puts his own life at risk to hunt for the two young men, not knowing whether they’re alive or dead. But if the inferno reaches Toussaint, no one will be safe.
Ash Child is the 9th book in The Montana Mysteries Featuring Gabriel Du Pré series, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
This compelling series, set in a contemporary Wild West where little old ladies come into the saloon, order red beers and go home and shoot at meddlesome strangers, offers another success. Gabriel Du Pr (last seen in 2001's Cruzatte and Maria) is back, not in the best of health but as curious and stubborn as ever. An old woman, Maddy Collins (she of the red beers), is beaten to death, and when Du Pr looks into it, he's knocked on the head as well. Two teenagers, good kids who've chosen bad friends, jump out as obvious suspects. The two disappear, which seems to confirm their guilt. With the Montana weather dry and hot, the threat of fire hangs over the area, creating nearly unbearable suspense. Beyond basic safety measures, there's nothing that can be done to guarantee that the Wolf Mountains and all the nearby houses will not go up in flames. Sure enough, fire breaks out. The discovery of the two teenagers' bodies on a burned hill makes it tragically clear that they weren't guilty. As fires spread, the fear of arson spurs Du Pr to further danger in an effort to find the truth. Du Pr 's beloved, Madelaine, confers with the wise old Benetsee as Du Pr goes up against the Forest Service. There's a wonderful drawl to the pace here: though there's plenty of action, there's also time to enjoy the laconic, highly nuanced language and to catch up on the interwoven history of these folks in the case of the mysterious, powerful Benetsee, a history may travel back centuries. It's a pleasure to read a story that was clearly written with pleasure. FYI:The third and fourth books in the series,Wolf No Wolf andNotches, are being combined in a simultaneous trade paperback edition (; ISBN -28963-4). Bowen is also the author ofKelly and the Three-Toed Horse (Forecasts, Feb. 26, 2001) and other titles in his Yellowstone Kelly historical series.