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Bitter Creek by Peter Bowen

Bitter Creek

by Peter Bowen

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This is one of my favorite series because it is set in Montana and written by a person who appreciates the Montana that I love. Besides that, Bowen provides readers with history and knowledge of the Metis Indians who live in what many people consider the most God-forsaken part of the state. This book deals with a century-old mystery about a massacre of a small band of Metis who were attempting to flee to Canada. Gabriel du Pre, his friends and family are determined to solve the mystery of who killed the people, find the bodies and bury them with honor. ( )
  terran | Jul 8, 2016 |
I have long been a fan of Peter Bowen's series. It's been several years since the last book (Nails) was published, so I was thrilled to see this one. It brings back everything I love about these books, although some of those things might not be for everyone.

Bowen writes about the Métis, a group of mixed French and Native American people, living in the wilds of Montana. The author does an excellent job in giving us a feel for the pidgin English they speak. The words that are left out give the Métis' speech a French cadence that is part of their heritage. I love it, but I can see why it might prove to be an annoyance to other readers. The Métis also often have outspoken views and ways of doing things. For instance, Du Pré's grandchildren are growing up to be fine human beings despite parenting of which many modern experts would disapprove. The Métis are a proud people-- independent spirits-- and for all intents and purposes, they are left alone now, mostly because they live where no one else wants to.

Bowen has created an excellent cast of characters that I love to read about. The old cowboy Booger Tom is the focus of most of the humor in Bitter Creek, thanks to a water buffalo named Eustace. The war between those two is hilarious.

The focus of this book is the 100-year-old mystery of exactly who was responsible for the massacre of the band of Métis trying to escape to Canada, and Du Pré and the others are dealing with the descendants of the people who were probably responsible. This creates a lot of tension as the story progresses because the reader is never certain what those people are willing to do in order to keep century-old secrets buried. Those scenes of Booger Tom and Eustace provide much needed levity.

There's also a modern-day murder in Bitter Creek, but it definitely takes a backseat to the old mystery. In fact, it almost feels tacked on-- as if Bowen wanted to prove that not all country sheriffs are stupid (and they're not).

I loved spending time with Du Pré and the others. I've missed them-- and I'm hoping that Bowen may have a Montana story or two left to tell us in the future. ( )
  cathyskye | Apr 30, 2015 |
One of the very best in this series of books which began in 1994. I have read and loved them all. Peter Bowen has created memorable characters who have grown over the years. At this point they feel like family. If you have read all of the books you are immersed in the story and the characters. But, I believe you could come into the series at any point and enjoy the stories. The author has an ability to both understand and recreate the feelings and beliefs of the Metis people he writes about. The books are set in Montana, and the love of land and respect for environment is another major aspect of the books.
Bitter Creek is about an effort to right an unforgivable wrong that occurred 100 years ago. With many twists and turns, with that perfect pattern of speech, and with many 'whiskey ditches' a tragedy is put to rest.
Read as an ARC from NetGalley. ( )
  librarian1204 | Mar 13, 2015 |
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Lieutenant John Patchen has come to Montana to persuade Chappie Plaquemines, his former gunnery sergeant in Iraq and the son of Gabriel Du Pré's girlfriend, to accept the Navy Cross. First, however, Du Pré and Patchen must find the wounded marine, who was last seen drinking heavily in the Toussaint Saloon. They locate him soon enough, disheveled and stinking of stale booze, but a sobering visit to a medicine man's sweat lodge reveals a much greater mystery: the unsolved case of a band of Métis who were last seen fleeing from General Black Jack Pershing's troops in 1910 before disappearing.… (more)

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