A “plain-spoken, deep-thinking Montana cattle inspector” takes on a serial killer in DC (The New York Times Book Review).
With misgivings, cattle inspector and sometime deputy Gabriel Du Pré has left his hometown of Toussaint, Montana, for big-city Washington, DC, where the Métis Indian fiddler has agreed to play his people’s music for a Smithsonian festival. But like the frightened and confused horse galloping wildly down the National Mall, Du Pré is very much out of his element. He does know how to catch and calm a runaway horse, however.
If only catching a killer could be so simple. When a Cree woman from Canada who came to sing in the festival is found murdered, her death is just the first in a series of fatal attacks on Native Americans. Each killing is foretold by a shaman, and each time a primitive weapon is used. As the body count rises, Du Pré fears he might be the serial killer’s ultimate target.
New York Times–bestselling author Ridley Pearson says about Peter Bowen’s Montana mysteries: “The best of Tony Hillerman meets Zane Grey . . . Du Pré is a character of legendary proportions.” And Booklist calls Gabriel Du Pré “one of the most unusual characters working the fictional homicide beat.”
Specimen Song is the 2nd book in The Montana Mysteries Featuring Gabriel Du Pré series, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Bowen sustains interest in this follow-up to Coyote Wind despite the lack of a believable suspect, discernible clues or a precise sense of place. He relies on his unusual protagonist, Gabriel Du Pre, a laconic rancher, fiddle player and self-mocking, part Native American freethinker given to abstract utterances. Lured from his native Montana to perform in a Washington, D.C., music festival, Du Pre is fiddling when a young Indian woman dies, the first of several murders that occur in his trail. Each is committed with a primitive weapon; all are foretold by a shaman; in the vicinity, each time, is psychotic rich man and artistic hanger-on, Paul Chase. Yet all Du Pre can do is wait for the shaman's next warning and follow his best hunches: that the killer's motive is pleasure, that Chase is being used for cover and that Du Pre is the killer's real focus. It's often hard to locate Du Pre as he is seen, variously, navigating a Canadian river, drinking with his lover Madelaine and playing with his grandchildren. But Bowen's prose is often droll and his characters well-etched; only clue seekers are in for a lean time here.