Five Star, Nov 2004, 25.95, 328 pp.
Marcy and Davy James along with their intelligent twelve year old son Gavan enjoy living in Sitka. However, the James family are upset over a proposal to build a road across the island, in their opinion destroying much of the beauty of the Tongass National Forest. Others like Jeremy Bander, the father of Gavan's best friend Tim, believe that progress means money to be made by everyone, but especially him.
Gavan and Tim follow engineering consultant Dennis Kovach into the forest. While Dennis catches and lectures Gavan, Tim steals his back pack. When Marcy learns that Gavan stole the backpack, she makes Gavan return it. Dennis decides to learn what Gavan knows by taking him into the forest with Marcy's permission. Tim secretly follows, but someone serendipitously trailed the threesome and kills Tim. As Marcy is threatened and the police investigate the homicide, Gavan feels guilty and tries to uncover the identity of the murderer.
This is an intriguing amateur sleuth environmental vs. development tale that grips readers when the first confrontation on the road occurs at a town hall meeting. The story line focuses on the questionable goings on more than just the question of economic growth at what cost, but does not neglect that issue through the divided cast. Obviously since Marcy and Gavan are opposed to the construction, that side receives the stronger supporting argument.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner