Cop, librarian, nurse, sheriff, and even an Indian chiefthey are all viewpoint characters in Sheila Simonsons engrossing new mystery, An Old Chaos. Expanding our view of the microcosm of a rural Washington town introduced in the critically praised Buffalo Bills Defunct, Simonson portrays heroism as well as corruption in high and low places. And human fallibilitys potential for diasaster is joined by the landscapes; as the eponymous Wallace Stevens poem says, We live in an old chaos of the sun.
When a landslide kills six people and destroys several expensive homes, Madeline Thomas, principal chief of the Klalos, and geologist Charlie ONeill know something is rotten in Latouche County: the land should never have been built on. His cousin, sheriffs investigator Rob Neill uncovers a suppressed hazard warning, and evidence of payoffs to county government, with the help of his librarian neighbor (and significant other) Meg McLean. Although badly injured in the rescue attempt, Rob leads an investigation that may implicate local development bigwigs and county government personnel, including his boss and mentor, the sheriff. Meanwhile someone will stop at nothing to keep the cover-up covered up.
Sheila Simonson, a native of the Pacific Northwest, is the author of eleven novels, seven of them mysteries. A retired English and history college teacher, she lives in Vancouver, Washington.