Doubleday, May 2001, 24.95, 364 pp.
Perhaps her plight is that of most Americans as her heritage (as a half-Chinook Indian) battles with her professional life working as a Corps of Engineer marine biologist on the Columbia River. Francine Smohalla cares about both of her worlds even if the divergence leaves her with inner turmoil. She knows the dams built by the Corps have destroyed the life of her people and she realizes that her people want to destroy the dams.
However, Francine was not expecting a serial killer to emerge who goes one step further by eliminating those individuals working for the Corps and associated organizations. The evidence accompanying the first corpse discovered by Francine points towards a Chinook Indian as the culprit. As other events add to the heated dispute and the death count grows, Francine worries that her beloved Chinook father is the killer and she begins to investigate.
A RIVER OUT OF EDEN is an exciting amateur sleuth thriller that showcases the Pacific Northwest dispute between environment and heritage vs. technology. The story line is fast-paced, enjoyable, and filled with critical details that brings the area and the dispute to life. Although John Hockeberry has too many sub-plots filled with the range of issues diverting the reader at times from his central theme, the author writes a strong tale. Sub-genre readers will find this novel provides insight into a very complex debate inside an entertaining mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner