Three missing persons cases over a two-year period collide in this novel. The most recent person gone missing, Seth Tryton, has friends in low places that won’t let the case stand as is. Placing his freedom in peril, fugitive from the law, Gerald Hodges, returns to Minnesota to help find out what happened, A couple of associates accompany him as they roam the streets of Duluth and travel the North Shore in search of clues to his disappearance. They discover that Peter Karonen, a local man living in the small town of Finland may hold the key to all three disappearances. He is a man who has lost everything important in his life-his wife to cancer, and a daughter mired in a persistent vegetative state. His dark journey leads him on a collision course with Gerald Hodges and his crew. Complicating matters, the local police discover that Hodges is in the vicinity and pursue him with vigor. Hodges must not only find his friend, but dodge the police in the process.
A puzzling murder takes place in a small southern Minnesota town during the coldest spell of winter. It’s January, and Beth Reddy, newly certified private investigator, is hired by members of her book club to help solve the killing of one of their own. Beth and her partner, Damien George, are supposed to be cooperating with the local authorities, but after deciding there’s more to this than meets the eye, strike out on their own. The reader is taken on a psychological journey into the minds of several suspects after the murder of another book club member occurs in a neighboring town. Although one individual, a local odd fellow, emerges in the eyes of Beth and Damien as the main person of interest, local officials seem to be perplexed. The odd fellow possesses a mysterious past and a curious connection to the murder victims, but the logistics and motives just don’t seem to add up. The murders continue to pile up, further complicating the investigation and confirming the suspicions of some in the law enforcement community. Nothing is as it seems as Beth and Damien stretch the legal boundaries while desperately seeking the identity of the person eliminating members of the book club.
After escaping from the Devil’s Kettle Falls on the North Shore of Minnesota, Gerald Hodges settles in Vancouver, B.C. where he begins a business that specializes in helping people who are in trouble. Soon, he is intrigued by a picture of a young couple in the evening newspaper. The evening photo displays the couple embracing while surrounded by rioters, burning vehicles, and police.
Hodges, now sporting a new identity as Oliver Payne, sends his trusted girl everything, Madison, to find the couple. When they finally meet in a seedy café in Chinatown, they find out that the couple pulled off the biggest theft of the century in Canada, millions of securities and bonds, but now want to return the loot if they don’t have to go to jail. A complicating factor arises when they tell Payne and his assistant, they were helped by a group of Neo-Nazis who are now chasing them.
Kidnapping, murder, chases, and a young black woman living alone deep in the woods confront the couple, Payne, his cohorts, and the Nazis as they battle for possession of the securities and bonds and their lives. The final action takes place at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
Jack Hula lost close contact with his brothers over the past several years. He was convinced that a brothers’ trip to the Boundary Waters would pave the way for renewing their bonds. He didn’t know he would have to overcome the reluctance of Gabe, the PTSD suffering brother, and being hunted in the wilderness by two backwoodsmen.
There are atheists and then there are atheists. Many individuals become disenchanted with the religion they grow up with and turn to atheism when they become adults. A few are born into a godless household and raised without religion. Jeff Ollman and his siblings are part of the rare breed of atheists that grew up in such a household. His parents were atheists as were his grandparents on his father’s side. Ollman describes what it was like to grow up where there were no believers in a god, and a church was not attended, all in the middle of the upper midwest where there was a church on every street corner. He describes the effect it had on him from grade school, college, and throughout his work life. Jeff tells his story in an easy to read conversational style with touches of humor and grace.