The Stick Game (Gabriel DuPre` Montana Mysteries #7) by Peter Bowen: 3***

The Stick Game (The Montana Mysteries Featuring Gabriel Du Pré)

American author who lived in Montana, and which was featured in his Gabriel DuPre’ mystery series. Bowen was a little bit of everything. An author, poet, essayist, humorist, cowboy, as well as a hunting and fishing guide. Is best known for his book “Yellowstone Kelly” that was made into a movie starring Clint Walker. Bowen, who died in 2020, authored 15 books in his Montana Mystery Series built around DuPre’, all of which featured the state, the Metis Indians, along with a healthy dose of conservation and environmental issues. His books tended to be under 300 pages and are quick reads. Had an uncanny ability to tell a story mostly through the use of dialogue, some of which can be a little tricky for the first time reader, and helps to make his books understandably easy reads.

A tale of two books, by one of my favorite authors. No idea what Peter Bowen was thinking but his 7th book in the Gabriel DuPre` series just did not satisfy me. I love this series, the setting and characters and this book had it all for the first 200 pages. A good story – Indians on the reservation are either dying or are born with birth defects that appear to be linked to environmental poisoning of the water by a gold mining conglomerate that pollutes the water and land with harmful heavy metal runoff.
It also deals with alcoholism on the reservation and the difficulties in successfully treating the addiction. Like I said, really good topics with lots of potential.
However those last 70 pages were a true clunker. This is one time that Bowen could and should have expanded this normal book length by at least 75 pages to give these topics a proper treatment. The ending is unsatisfactory and a head scratcher to put it mildly, and while there is a lot to like in this book, in totality it is a middling effort for such a good writer who has something to say to us about Montana, Indians, environment and the multiple issues that are encountered in each book. Let us hope that he got back on track in his next book in the Gabriel DuPre` mystery series. 

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