Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Lone Creek" by Neil McMahon


I just finished reading Lone Creek this afternoon. The only reason I didn't read it all in one day is my 2-year-old; spending most of my time running around after him meant it took me three days to read it instead. And considering it runs 300+ pages, that tells you something about how engrossed I was.

Lone Creek is a noirish mystery set in modern-day Montana. It has a flavor that's a cross between Raymond Chandler and Larry McMurtry; the protagonist is sort of hard-boiled-detective meets good-old-boy. It revolves around two mysteries, one in the present and one in the past.

It all starts when Hugh Davoren finds a couple of gruesomely slaughtered horses. And since we all know that anyone who's mean to horses is Evil, we all know that there must be an Evil Person around. Then the human bodies start piling up too, and Hugh winds up on the run from the law and the Evil Person. And he also falls for a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to a girl who died mysteriously when Hugh was a boy. That old mystery gets tangled up with this new one, and it's not until several plot twists later that everything gets straightened out (mostly, anyway).

My favorite character was actually Hugh's best buddy, Madbird, a Blackfoot Indian with a flair for sarcasm and spookiness. Every scene he was in was extra-intriguing.

If you like tales of the New West, mysteries, or love stories with a touch of the supernatural, you'll probably like Lone Creek.

(Originally posted on Inscriptions on Sep. 21, 2008.)

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