After a three-year absence, author Peter Bowen returns with the fifteenth novel in his series featuring Gabriel Du Pre, a Metis Indian living in Montana who has worked as a brand inspector and occasional deputy sheriff. Du Pre is now well along in life, with adult grandchildren, but it hasn't slowed him down a bit. He still drinks and smokes and plays the fiddle with the best of them, and it's great to have him back.
In this novel, Du Pre comes to the assistance of a decorated former soldier named Hoyt Poe. While serving as a guard at a prison in Kabul, Poe witnessed the employees of a private contractor abusing prisoners. Poe did the right thing and reported the abuse. He then testified against the men he saw committing the crimes.
His efforts earned him the enmity of the thugs who run the contracting firm and of their powerful political masters in the nation's capital. Poe is now running for his life and is resettled out in Du Pre's home town of Toussaint in rural Montana. But Poe's enemies are relentless and well-connected, and even out in the middle of nowhere and even with the assistance of Gabriel Du Pre, Poe and his family may not be safe.
This is a compelling story that, given the current political climate, has more than a little ring of truth about it. But above and beyond that, this and the other books in the series are character-driven novels, and Bowen has created a wonderful supporting cast surrounding his protagonist. The sense of place is so sharp that the fictional Toussaint comes fully to life, and returning to the community after a three-year absence is like returning home again. I very much hope that it will not be another three years before we get a chance to go back.