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Dreadfulwater Shows Up Hardcover – Sep 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company; 1st Scrib. edition (Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743243927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743243926
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.1 x 2.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,339,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Ora Mae Foreman relaxed on the balcony of the Cascade with her thermos of coffee, a bag of chocolate-coated doughnut holes, and the morning paper, and waited for the sun to light up the eastern face of the Rockies. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Thank goodness Dreadfulwater showed up 10 May 2004
By Scott Sakatch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Samuel Goldwyn, a 1940s-era film producer famous for his word mangling, once said: "Let's have some new cliches!"
I agree whole-heartedly and I think we should start with DreadfulWater Shows Up!
Cherokee Indian Thumps DreadfulWater is a photographer in the small native community of Chinook, somewhere on the American side of the border between Alberta and Montana. Chinook is in the midst of a huge luxury resort and casino development. Most of the community looks forward to the economic boom that will accompany the resort, except for a band of protesters, known as the Red Hawks, who are a thorn in the side of the development.
All this is of little concern to Thumps, a somewhat laconic fellow with a passion for golf, until he's called in to photograph a murder victim at the resort. Suspicion quickly falls on Stick Merchant, leader of the Red Hawks and the son of Claire Merchant, the local band council leader and Thumps' sometimes lover.
We soon learn Thumps is more than a shutterbug. He is -- surprise, surprise -- an ex-cop who left his home in California to find a simpler life in Chinook. He begins to snoop around and look into the mystery in the hopes of either bringing in Stick or proving his innocence.
When another man turns up dead, Thumps has to kick his investigation into high gear to keep Stick alive. As he follows a trail that leads all the way to the top of the casino development, events start to take a dangerous turn and it's up to Thumps to solve the mess before even more people are killed.
While the location and players are different, the plot of DreadfulWater Shows Up is as cliched as any of a thousand pulp detective novels over the past 70 years. The reluctant hero proves himself smarter than the local cops, faces danger with a cool head and eventually brings the villain to justice. The end.
And you know what? I loved every single page of it and I can't wait for the next in the series.
That's not surprising, given the author. Hartley GoodWeather is a tongue-in-cheek pseudonym for well-known writer and humourist -- and former University of Lethbridge professor to boot -- Thomas King. He's also the brains behind the late, lamented Dead Dog Cafe, an uproariously funny daily segment on CBC Radio's Morningside.
King is at the absolute top of his game in DreadfulWater Shows Up. In previous novels such as Medicine River, I found King always seemed to hold back a bit on his ability to entertain that shined through on Dead Dog Cafe. I often wondered if it was because he was worried about not being taken seriously as a writer, especially because he was part native and writing about natives.
Whatever the reason, King has finally let loose as Hartley GoodWeather. Thumps -- a very thinly disguised King -- is the most entertaining detective I've come across in a long while. Firmly based on pulp novel style, Thumps is nevertheless an original. While Sam Spade and Mike Hammer were rough-and-tumble slobs, Thumps is a quiet neat freak whose stomach turns at the smell of doughnuts. He's cool but not ultra-confident, tough but not a James Cagney type. And, of course, he's an Indian.
The book is also littered with brilliant supporting characters, from the hilarious Cooley and Ora Mae to the intriguing Claire and Stick. As with Thumps, they're cliches -- not as Indians but as detective novel characters -- but they're GOOD cliches. King can also turn a phrase as well as anyone, and manages to come off as a mixture of Raymond Chandler and Dave Barry while maintaining a distinct style.
DreadfulWater Shows Up is a surefire pleaser for anyone who enjoys a good mystery, a good laugh and a brief trip into an enjoyable, familiar world. I have no doubt this will turn into one of the most popular series in Canadian fiction. I for one am very glad DreadfulWater showed up.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
DreadfulWater...........Sparkling Water!!!!!!!! 20 Nov 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
DreadfulWater Shows Up is a diamond in the rough and I feel fortunate to have found it. The light, humorous descriptions of lifestyles and interactions of the characters bring the story to life. The writing style is unpretentious and the book unfolds in comfortable, easy flowing way.
Ex-cop returns to the Montana rez leaving heartbreak and failure in California. Now a photographer, Thumps DreadfulWater gets involved in solving a devious plot to save the son of his on again, off again girlfriend.
Once I got hooked, I couldn't put the book down. Let's hope for a continuation of this series from Thomas King writing as Hartley GoodWeather.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
GoodWeather friend 25 Mar 2004
By John H. Pendley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the hoot of a dust jacket (a send-up, heroic, low angle photo: Indian chief in neon) to the climactic scene, this finely wrought, literate, funny novel satisfies in more ways than one might expect. Previous reviews have dealt nicely with its delicious humor and wry tone. I'd like to touch on one element of that humor, which has stuck with me for months after reading the book. As all good humor does, it has a serious aspect.

Poor Thumps DreadfulWater is smitten with Claire Merchant, head of the tribal council of a nearby reservation. Thumps is a pretty bright guy, bright enough to figure out the clever caper at the heart of this novel. But as he attempts to tread the sometimes turbulent waters of a relationship with a strong willed, intelligent, and independant woman, Thumps is badly out of his depth. For instance, he lives in fear of the questions women are wont to ask which seem to have no correct answers. Or, at least, whatever answers he gives always seem to be wrong. Thus, his favorite thing about sex is that, for a short time, he doesn't have to answer any of these questions. Poor Thumps, indeed! Wherever he goes, some variety of female awaits to let some air out of his day.

Women aren't the only element in his life that batter (thump?) Thumps about the head and ego. There's his sad past, his general slothfulness, and things in his refrigerator that shouldn't be green but are all he has left to eat. All that would take a longer review. You should read the book.

All this is uproariously subversive, given the current climate of heightened awareness for women's issues and the general notion that men are dogs. One can almost hear Thomas King (literary novelist), not-so-thinly veiled behind Hartley GoodWeather (mystery writer), chuckling away as he makes his points about the nature of things. In recent years, lots of ink has been used to promote equal treatment for women, and justifiably so. As Garrison Keillor says, one either views life as a comedy or a tragedy. Mr. King, like Chaucer, Shakespeare, and many others before him, has chosen to view a serious issue, conflict between the sexes, as a comedy, and has given us a well placed dab or two of ink on the subject. We're all the better for it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Cherokee detective with a dry sense of humor 12 Jan 2004
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This dryly humorous, character-driven mystery from Canadian author Thomas King (writing under a pseudonym which references his own Cherokee heritage), introduces a smart, laconic Cherokee detective, Thumps DreadfulWater.
Thumps, a former California cop in flight from tragedy, landed near a reservation in Chinook, Montana, looking for a quiet life, which he seems to have found. He's getting a bit of a name for his photography, and has a baffling and bumpy romance going with tribal councilor Claire Merchant.
Claire's satisfaction in acquiring a fancy new resort and casino for the tribe has been somewhat complicated by her teenage son's opposition to the development. But when a casino computer expert is found murdered in one of the condos and all clues point to her computer-savvy boy, complicated becomes something a whole lot worse. Thumps knows Stick didn't kill anybody, but his evasions and disappearance aren't helping.
GoodWeather plays the casino controversy without overplaying, and Thumps' sleuthing is well paced, allowing a range of believably quirky characters to emerge. You may see the ending coming, but you'll only wish it were further off, so as to spend more time with Thumps.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Murder follows an ex-cop to the Rez . . . 26 Nov 2004
By Ronald Scheer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is detective fiction told with tongue firmly in cheek. Unlike Tony Hillerman, whose fictional Navajo world is set with both feet squarely in the real one (you can follow the movements of his characters with an open road atlas beside you), Thomas King's Indians have slipped into a world of clichés and conventions that any crime fiction fan will immediately recognize. Never mind that King makes winking references to TV detectives to remind readers that this story is somehow realistic by comparison. The milieu is a fictional Montana (never referred to) that could easily be anywhere in the Mountain Time Zone, north or south of the US-Canada border.

Still, readers familiar with small-town antagonisms between Indians and whites will recognize the real-world hostility that underlies the sheriff's abrasive opinion of King's ex-cop DreadfulWater (that's one word with a capital W) who oversteps his role as a crime photographer. Those who know the libertarian spirit of the West will also note how the proliferation of hard-boiled characters common to the genre rather naturally springs from a culture of tough-it-out individualism. Everywhere out here, DreadfulWater wryly observes, lives the holy trinity of liquor, tobacco, and guns.

Trumps DreadfulWater is an enjoyable invention, with his cat Freeway, his transplanted Californian sensibilities, his advancing middle years, and his tendency to run out of breath climbing stairs. He comes most to life dealing with the several strong women characters that populate the story even while they keep any prospect for romance pretty much out of the question. One scene that gets a bit further than flirtation gets comically interrupted.

One caveat. Readers who loved King's earlier literary fiction will immediately understand why he uses the pseudonym Hartley Goodweather for this entertainment. There's a feint resemblance to King's fine novel "Medicine River" here, where the central character is also an unmarried Indian photographer living on the fringes of the Rez, but the gentle ironic humor of that novel is replaced here by broad comedy, and with rare exceptions the subtleties are absent. For mystery fans, however, this one will please, as the reviews here already testify.
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