Does evil have rights? Can an old Ojibwa myth be accepted as a defense in a murder trial on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island? Dead is a sleazy young German man who came to Manitoulin to distribute Ecstasy to Great Lakes cities in the U.S. He fled Germany and his ties to Biker and Drug cultures rather than testify in a gang trial in Dresden. Interpol wants him. He lives with his uncle who is building a pow-wow hotel on the island for German wannabe Indians.
The only witness is Dr. Mary Fraser, Canada’s ranking expert on native symbols and an Ojibwa herself. She bloodied her hands when she failed to stop the murder.
Drawn back to Manitoulin to recover her childhood identity, she ends up in a forensic psych hospital, unable to recall who’s responsible.
Her live-in-lover, Fergus Fitzgerald, an aging draft dodger from Boston, would rather drink good scotch than get involved but in the end seeks his own redemption. He uses his reporter instincts to flush out the real killer. His real adversary is a holier-than-thou Crown Attorney who thinks Mary herself is possessed.
Tying all this together is the ancient Bearwalker myth of a large black bear, believed by some Ojibwa to be capable of taking on human form and uttering lethal curses.
Bearwalker Alibi is Jake’s second novel, written after meticulous research in both the Dresden area of Germany and Northern Ontario, particularly Manitoulin Island, Sudbury and North Bay.
His attention to psychological roots of his main characters reflects 40 years in journalism as a reporter, editor and finally publisher of the The Hamilton Spectator. He received a Masters Degree (Journalism) from Columbia University in New York in 1960. He also has a business degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.
More recently, he was co-founder, editor and contributor of the Sun Media’s Summer Mystery Series, followed by an anthology acclaimed by the Globe and Mail’s mystery critic as “…perfect.”
Jake came to crime writing like a great plot that unfolds with its own inner force. He’s most comfortable with the redemptive challenges of older men which, he says, “provides the great range to explore the thin line between good and evil.”
Though born in New Brunswick, he now lives in Meaford, Ontario near Owen Sound, watching the sun go down on Georgian Bay. Most mornings though are spent, taking direction from P.D. James’ “perennial fascination with the mystery of morality…rights vindicated, order restored.”