White Squall: Sailing the Great Lakes by Victoria Brehm. Ladyslipper Press, 2018, $29.95. https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/white-squall
Matt Callahan is one of the most compelling characters in any novel or mystery I've read in some time. He is still healing, both physically and mentally, from a horrifically disfiguring wound. It is so bad he wears a mask over half his face from which scars peak out and hint at the devastation thrown acid has done to his face. For Callahan, the job of Sheriff of Nicolet County on Beaver Island seems like a quiet, undemanding, corner of northern Michigan to resume his life as a cop. Of course, it proves just the opposite and tests Callahan's strength of character, physical and emotional health, and whether he can still function as a cop and deal with imminent physical danger.
Callahan is a fully developed, fascinating character and his struggle to overcome his injuries are as involving as the deadly, and well-plotted mystery the island hides. Even the minor characters are believable and well drawn. The author has done a great job of capturing the essence of life in up north Michigan. Not the tourists on vacation, but the people who have lived there for generations or pulled up stakes and headed north to escape the rat race of urban life in southern Michigan. Fee writes, "People in the Northwoods didn't so much as want to make it as to make do. Ambitions were less abstract and more concrete...they by and large aimed for community and connection with place. Their pace was steady and synchronized to the passing of the seasons." Or was until Callahan begins looking into three seemingly unrelated files mysteriously left on his desk by the last sheriff, with a note to the new lawman to make them a priority.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying mystery with a great sense of place. Anyone who reads it will impatiently await the next novel in the series.
Dangerous Remedy by Russell Fee. Boreas Press, 2016, $12.99
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