I haven’t read many modern western novels and perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to jump into Peter Bowen’s Bitter Creek as a place to start because the characters have been established in other books and I feel like I may have missed some connection to them.
That being said, the premise on which Bowen bases Bitter Creek is intriguing, important, and interesting enough to paste over the problems I myself created. The story is based on the long ago killing of a band of Metis Indians in Montana that has become lore among the people who live in the area and has been largely ignored by decades of government intervention. This is the part of the story that the history lover in me really goes for because things like this happened, things like this are real. I can imagine things like this happening, although I don’t know if anything like it ever happened to actual Metis or if this is entirely fictionalized.
The modern western aspect of the novel centers on Gabriel Du Pre, a fiddle play slash detective, who sets out to figure out what really happened to the band of Metis that were lost. He enlists the help of a dozen grandchildren, a host of colorful other characters, his Iraq war veteran son (I think it’s his son), and a white friend of his son who comes to give Chappie a medal and hears the cries of the long dead Metis.
As I said, I think I’d like the book more if I knew more about what made Du Pre and his people tick, and had read the earlier books featuring them. That being said, there’s enough of a story here to make me perfectly happy.
I received a copy of Bitter Creek through NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media in exchange for an honest and original review.