Fantastic Publishers Weekly Review of Jack Pine

Apr 10, 2015 by

jackpine21Publishers Weekly Review of JACK PINE

Jack Pine: A Novel of the Northwoods William Hazelgrove. Koehler (koehlerbooks.com), $18.95 trade paper (302p) ISBN 978-1-94019-268-0

Hazelgrove (The Pitcher) delivers a searing look at a disintegrating company town and the desperate lengths people will go to in order to preserve their way of life. In Ely, Minn., near the Canadian border, Johnson Timber is the cornerstone business, with tourism a distant second. When loggers start getting killed, militant environmentalist Tom Jorde becomes a suspect; and when a 16-year-old girl cries rape, Sheriff Riechardt blames Tommy Tobin, a local Indian. Deputy Sheriff Reuger London tries to just do his job, but his ability to perform it with emotional detachment becomes increasingly difficult, as Johnson Timber owner Ben Johnson, Riechardt, and Jorde constantly pressure him to serve their respective interests. Distinctive supporting characters help keep the pages turning, including Ben’s bullying grown son, Cliff; an environmental lawyer, Patricia Helpner; and a morally bankrupt newsman, John Mcfee. Rough country and people as tenacious as the jack pines, the softwood trees that have replaced the old clear-cut timber, make Hazelgrove’s novel memorable. (Apr.)

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Born in Richmond, Virginia, and carted back and forth between Virginia and Baltimore, I blame my rootless, restless personality on my father. He was and is a traveling salesman with a keen gift of gab, great wit, a ready joke, and could sell white tennis shoes to coal miners. [read more...]

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