Reviewed by: Fredlet
Genre: YA/Historical Mystery
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words
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The Stone and Silt historical mystery is based in British Columbia, where Harvey grew up and spent his teenage summers guiding whitewater raft trips on the Thompson and Fraser rivers. Harvey received a Bachelor of Science degree from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where his elective studies included the history of B.C. and of western Canada.
Harvey works as a program manager for an IT consulting firm. He is also the founder of KBoards.com - the web's largest independent Kindle user forum.
Harvey lives in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife, three daughters, a lovable golden retriever, and a stern cat. He enjoys walking mountain trails, learning blues guitar, and being surrounded by great books.”
For more, visit Mr. Chute’s author's blog or the Stone & Silt Facebook page.
“A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.
At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.
Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.
Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love.”
For those who have not read my Meet the Pals entry, I did not enjoy reading during school or choose reading as a leisure activity. That is, until my 5th grade teacher selected the book Caddie Woodlawn for read-aloud time. I was hooked on the spunky, tomboy character and the many risks she took exploring the Wisconsin frontier and interacting with people during her pioneer childhood. It was the first book I willingly read from cover to cover. Mr. Chute’s novel evoked the same feelings in me. I am hoping many others will be as compelled to read this story as I was. The book trailer is well done and a good way to preview this book.
The murder mystery plot was exciting, dangerous, and stressful to read. There were many twists and turns on the way to the resolution. Nikaia, Klima, and Yee Sim were very resourceful and clever. But, my favorite parts were the everyday background details and the interactions between Nikaia’s family and friends. I loved the way the consequences of Nikaia’s choices led to her father giving her the nickname Mischief. Her relationships with her family, friends, and community were authentic. Mr. Chute’s vivid descriptions of Fort Yale, British Columbia, and the Fraser River brought them to life and made them seem like a “real” character. The telling of Nikaia’s mountain quest, the Anybody Boat, Charlie Ray’s trap line experience, Annie Adams’ basket weaving, and other stories brought realism to the book by teaching meaningful lessons to characters, and providing insight into the culture of the First Nations people and pioneer life during the gold rush. I also enjoyed the tentative, developing feelings between Nakaia and Yee Sim. I was glad to read in an interview that there are plans for a follow-up novel with many of the same characters.
Mr. Chute states in his author’s note, “This story is my homage, my love letter, to the people of the Fraser Canyon, past and present.” That’s how reading Stone and Silt felt to me.
I read an ARC of this book, and found no errors.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
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