Happy New Year! When I began this blog in August of 2017 I never considered its life expectancy. So it is with some surprise and a degree of wonder that this is the second ringing in of a new year for Michigan in Books. This endeavor takes up far more commitment and time than I imagined. But, I still enjoy reading and spreading the word on Michigan books and authors. Evidently there are a gratifying number of you out there who find the blog worth your time. You spur me on. Thank you for your interest and readership.
Rindo has as much respect for prisons as Raylan has for superiors and the drug lord escapes from jail even before he has a hearing and heads to Ohio. Raylan and FBI Agent Sanchez are not pleased when they are ordered to Ohio to transport Rindo back to Detroit after he is recaptured in Columbus. Neither one wants to spend several hours in a car with the other. The duo brings the fugitive back to Detroit and survives a running shootout with Rindo's gunmen who attempt to free him. It proves much harder for the two to survive each other's company.
That Ohio trip sets the table for a long, deadly, cross-country pursuit of Rindo by Raylan and Sanchez when Rindo escapes yet again and heads for Mexico. This novel of pursuit is thoroughly enjoyable. The action comes quick and violent, the two law officers relationship produces more friction than a set of disc brakes, and like his father, Peter Leonard can write scenes that not only hold the reader spellbound but in timing, tone, setting, and surprise twists are gems of perfection. Peter Leonard joins a handful of authors who could write anything, including a description of eating Haggis, and I'd read it.
Raylan Goes to Detroit by Peter Leonard. Rare Bird Books, 2018, $26.95
Mark, a Chigaco investment analyst, is surprised to learn that his Aunt Vivian, a member of Doctors Without Borders, has died and left him her house in Manistique. The request comes as a surprise because he hardly knew Aunt Vivian even though he was her last living relative. Mark has no idea where Manistique is even located. Vivian's lawyer has to tell him how to get there. When Mark does make it to Manistique he is in for several additional surprises.
Dr. Emily Davis, fresh out of medical school, is driving north for an assignation with her lover, a married doctor and her teacher, on Mackinac Island. After crossing Big Mac she decides the affair must end and instead of catching a ferry to the island she heads west on US-2. Outside of Manistique, she hits a deer, or as she insists, a deer hit her car and shattered the windshield. The garage in Manistique has to order a replacement and tells her it will take a day to repair. Asked where she can stay the night, she is sent to the Manistique Victorian Bed & Breakfast.
Mark hasn't finished his first look at his aunt's house when he answers a knock at the door and finds Emily, a suitcase in hand, asking if he has a room for the night. Mark is dumbfounded and wonders if there is a strange UP custom in which one allows strangers to spend the night in a spare bedroom. He is shocked to discover his aunt was running a bed and breakfast and although he permits Emily to stay the night he doesn't want anything to do with running a B & B. And so two stranger's lives slowly become entwined in the world above the bridge that, like Brigadoon, is a world unto itself.
Emily discovers "a day to repair" can mean a week in the UP. Mark keeps answering more knocks on the door and reluctantly turns into a bed and breakfast proprietor. Over the course of a week, Emily and Mark become fast friends, play host to an entertainingly oddball number of guests, re-assess their lives, and deal with the emotional damage of past mistakes. Dennis Cuesta's first novel is a pleasing and entertaining mix of humor, the power of friendship, life in the UP, and self-forgiveness. Ah, what I wouldn't give to be Stuck in Manistique again!
Stuck in Manistique by Dennis Cuesta. Celestial Eyes Press, 2018, $24.
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