Sunday, November 23, 2008
Reviewing: "Deerslayer: A Pete Brady Mystery"
This third novel in the series finds Pete Brady really out of his element. It was one thing to work a story back in the day in New Orleans along some bayou and watch for folks. It is another thing to sit in a deer stand as a light rainfalls and wait for some unsuspecting deer to wander by. Brady isn't a hunter, has no ambition to be one, but hunting is a major way of life in Troy, Louisiana.
To be part of the community, something that he has struggled with since taking over the local newspaper known as the "Troy Parish Express" he has to hunt. Pressured by Sheriff Matt Garitty to come hunting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this will be his first hunt. As it will be for Matt's teenage son, Scotty. While both have taken the shooting course, Scotty has been taught from a young age the responsibility of gun use as well as he has been shooting at targets the last 3 years.
Then, the unthinkable happens.
Scotty shoots and is convinced he hit a deer that vanished into the underbrush. Instead of the expected downed deer, the three hunters find a dead man. Dwayne Elkins was shot in the face with the round exiting through his skull. All the evidence seems to indicate that Scotty shot and killed him. Something Matt can't believe. As his family rocks under the strain, Matt asks Pete to investigate what happened. Matt knows what his people in the department can do and he knows what Brady can do. Brady has a history of getting results. And for himself as well as his son, Matt has to know.
Released in 1991 this third novel in the Peter Brady series features a man still deeply conflicted with his past as well as his present. Brady is trying to accept that his life has changed and gotten better, but the recrimmation over his past as well as his own paranoia still drive many of his actions. What can be a blessing in some areas can also hinder one tremendously in others. While he is aware of this internal conflict and working on it as best he can, he still damages himself in ways that he seems almost powerless to stop.
Like the other books in the series, this book opens slowly allowing readers to get to know the characters before the crime happens. Once it happens, the case is worked slowly and methodically with little forensic help and lots of shoe leather. Those looking for high tech solutions where every thing is solved in 30 minutes or less won't be happy here.
Instead, this follows the other books in the series in being a character driven read containing a complex mystery. Action is limited as is the humor. Instead the focus is on the people of Troy, LA and their day to day lives. The result is another very good read and one worth searching for.
Deerslayer: A Pete Brady Mystery
M. S. Karl
St. Martin's Press
My sincere thanks to the staff of the Wellesley Free Library in Wellesley, MA who sent this book to the Plano Public Library System to fill my Interlibrary Loan request.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2008