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Obsidian is outstanding. In order to appreciate how good it is recommend reading all the earlier books in the series. There's lots of characters to get to know, and they go by full name, part name and nickname. Can be a bit confusing in the beginning but well worth while to continue. Great character and story development. Looking forward to more books in the series.
The author, Thomas King, is a multi-talented American-Canadian writer. He identifies himself as being of part Cherokee descent. Two of his award-winning books are among my favourites. The Back of the Turtle won the Governor-General award for literature, and The Inconvenient Indian has won several awards for non-fiction. His books contain serious issues that he manages to infuse with a sly, sardonic sense of humour.
This is the 5th book in his mystery series and features an ex-police officer, Thumps Dreadfulwater. He is a Cherokee man who presently works as a photographer in the town of Chinook. I have only read one other book in the series, A Matter of Malice, and have learned that he reluctantly gets drawn back into the role of police investigator because of his past experience and great reputation as a detective. We know he is a troubled man and this book explains his lethargy and anguish. This can be read as a standalone, but I now have the desire to read the series from the beginning.
Thumps has been haunted by a past mass murder along the west coast. Ten people were brutally bludgeoned to death over the course of 3 days and their bodies left near the shoreline. A common factor was a piece of obsidian inserted in the mouths of the victims. The bodies included those of his girlfriend and her young daughter. The case was never solved.
Now, the killer seems to have followed Thumps to Chinook and is taunting him with souvenirs from the Obsidian case. To add to his torment a three-person movie crew has arrived in town with files that a murdered TV producer had compiled on the Obsidian case. They plan to make a movie that will include a lot of fiction in their crime script.
This is a complex mystery, told with dry wit and humour. The dialogue between Thumps and the towns' quirky characters is funny and a delight to read. There is the question of whether the murder of his girlfriend and her child was committed by a separate copycat killer, or if one clever and brilliant criminal was now in Chinook playing his evil games. With help from some eccentric characters, the killer may finally be identified and captured but doing so may put some lives in danger.
Ever wonder what it's like to be surrounded by a community that truly cares about you? Thumps DreadfullWater knows. This book has it all - a murder to solve, romance, an orphan baby, movie makers, a sheriff with prostate cancer, and lots of laughter. While Thumps struggles with his personal life, his detective skills are not dulled at all. An old, personal, double murder has been haunting him for six long years and he is ready to go to work. I love how the author is able to weave such a captivating story filled with quirky characters, while still providing many laugh out loud moments, guffaws, grins and belly laughs. This is a great read.
Running through the five Thumps DreadfulWater mysteries there has been the mystery of his past, which informs and explains a good deal about his personality. It is revealed in bits and pieces in the four previous mysteries until we get to the last one (fourth), A Matter of Malice, which is a great mystery in itself but also promises to reveal and resolve that larger mystery in the next book. Obsidian is that book. Thumps DreadfulWater meets his past.
It's very good and completely satisfying. I give it 5 stars because 1) it's a great mystery and 2) I was in the mood for a good mystery and King delivers. This series of mysteries would be great for TV. I wonder if anyone has ever considered that. Thank you Mr. King!