The Big Seven: A Faux Mystery

After prolific Jim Harrison mastered other genres, he turned to the mystery. The Great Leader introduced us to retired Detective Sunderson from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In The Big Seven, another "faux" mystery, Sunderson is enjoying rest and recuperation after a brief foray to New York City to track down his runaway adopted daughter.

Using $50,000 he secured via a creative bribery scam when he was in New York and now recovering from a fractured back that said scam led to, Sunderson has purchased a nice cabin in the woods to help fuel his fishing passion and control his drinking. But now he has to deal with the neighboring Ames family, fond of shooting at each other for fun and mistreating their women--a "human junk pile." He hires pretty Lily Ames to clean his cabin, but after finally settling in, all is disrupted when Lily is killed in a "duel" with her brother Tom, who had been abusing her for years.

Sunderson then hires Monica, Lily's sister, to help with cleaning, cooking and, unexpectedly, warm sexual sustenance. While Tom's recovering in the hospital from Lily's bullets, he's poisoned with cyanide. Days later, two more Ames men are poisoned--a woman's weapon. Monica? Harrison's trenchant, straightforward, nearly comma-less prose mirrors his detective. He's smart and honest, clear in his thoughts and feelings. Harrison lovingly shows us how this "lucky old fool" of a man tries to navigate the seven deadly sins, death and evil in rural Michigan. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

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