St. Martin's, Dec 2003
Lincoln Prairie, Illinois police detectives Marti MacAlister and Vik Jessenovik investigate the death of an apprentice archaeologist on the property of Josiah Smith. The deceased was working on a dig to prove that nothing of value was on this segment of the Smith property because the elderly Josiah planned to sell the land to a developer. However, instead of cooperation from Josiah and his family, the octogenarian patriarch informed, or perhaps warned his brood to offer nothing to the cops.
To Josiah's chagrin, the dig uncovers the remains of a Potawatomi Indian settlement and slave tags indicating that ancestor Idbash Smith was connected to the Underground Railroad, but not necessarily as a positive helper. Marti and Vik begin their own style of digging in an effort to ferret out a modern day killer amidst the silent Smiths while others from a ghost to slave descendents to Native American preservation groups arrive to convolute the suddenly dangerous investigation.
Fans of complex police procedural tales will appreciate FATAL REMAINS due to two strong mysteries (past and present) and the wonderful lead cops. The story line is at its best when Vik and Marti either investigate or provide a glimpse inside their personal lives especially the male protagonist who struggles with his wife's MS illness. The historical aspects of the case (the Potawatomi tribe and the slave manacles) add a sense of heritage and depth to the modern day inquiries.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner