Gabriel Du Pre is a Montana cattle brand inspector by trade and a part time deputy. He’s got Metis(pronounced Meh-tee, French for mixed blood) blood in him, a widower with two daughters. He gets called from the bed of his lady friend, asked to go with a cowboy to look at a plane crash he claimed to have found up in the mountains while hunting. The FAA wasn’t interested, no planes were missing, unless it was proved to be more than a drunken dream. Du Pre ends up going alone when a rattlesnake spooks the cowboy’s horse, which dumps him. No broken leg but some torn muscles. Du Pre sends him back after getting directions.
The location in the mountains is on a property owned by rich outsiders, the Fascelli family, who’ve only lived there a mere thirty-five years. He finds the plane, obviously an old wreck. Rusted metal all around and a small tree growing out of the remains. He also finds a skull with a bullet hole, the slug still rattling around inside. Bones were scattered all over the place and Du Pre finds two separate jaw bones, one obviously older, missing some teeth. He packs the evidence away and starts back down.
When he leads the FAA back up to it a third partial skeleton is found. The plane belonged to a rancher and his wife and went down in ’59. The third skull, the one with the bullet inside, hadn’t been at the sit nearly that long.
Hid job done, Du Pre was ready to wash his hands of the thing. He wasn’t getting paid for this, just gas money, and he wanted to move on.
It wasn’t to be.
He meets one of the Fascelli family, Bart(he and his sister were the only surviving members) and begins to like him. The skull had been found to belong to his long missing brother, twenty-five years, and he wants Du Pre to find out who killed him.
The trail of the history of a troubled family leads our part time lawman up into Canada where his people were originally from and threatens an old secret of his own family.
Quite an interesting character here. Completely original for me and I look forward to finding the rest of the series.
Todd Mason is doing the gathering of links this week for Friday Forgotten Books over at SWEET FREEDOM.