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Morrie Morgan is back, accompanied by our favorite loopy characters from Doig's acclaimed Whistling Season and Work Song. It's 1920, and after a whirlwind honeymoon, Morrie and wife, Grace, return to Butte, MT, where despotic power resides under one mighty thumb, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. Morrie and Grace start life in an outsized mansion, thanks to their benefactor and new boarder Samuel Sandison, cattle king, vigilante, and city librarian. To pay for the upkeep, Morrie begins working for a start-up newspaper, Thunder, backed by Jared Evans, leader of the mine workers and now a state senator. Writing salty, hard-nosed editorials, Morrie wages battle on behalf of the miners for fair wages and safe working conditions with the rival Post, Anaconda's mouthpiece. But big trouble follows Morrie. He's mistaken for the local bootlegger, the Chicago gambling mob sends a thug to shoot him, he's up against a muckraking journalist imported from Chicago by the Post, and his beloved Grace leaves him when she discovers his Chicago past. But Morrie remains steadfast in his mission. VERDICT With a master storyteller's instincts and a dollop of wry humor, Doig evokes a perfect landscape of the past with a cast of memorable characters. A treasure of a novel.-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Palisade, CO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Not only does Doig continually sing the praises of libraries and books in personal appearances, he writes about them, too. This is his third historical novel featuring Morrie Morgan, con man turned librarian (How often does one get to use that phrase?) and now crusading journalist. The setting, as in Work Song (2010), is Butte, Montana, and the theme is once more labor strife, with the Anaconda Mining set against the seemingly overmatched miners' union until Morrie, recently returned to Butte with his bride, Grace, enters the fray in the guise of editorial writer for an upstart left-wing paper that strives to expose the chicanery of the mining company. Think Shane but with dueling journalists instead of gunfighters. The rival newspaper, mouthpiece for Anaconda, brings in a hired wordsmith from Chicago (Jack Palance at the typewriter) to trade linotype punches with Morrie. There are plenty of personal stories on the sidelines (Morrie's marriage, doings at the library), but this time the focus is on hot type and the role journalism played in a rowdy western town. A stirring tale given a melancholic edge by the fading influence of print newspapers in our very different modern world. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Doig's fiction may not always hit national best-seller lists, but it is perennially popular in libraries. This one will only increase his reputation as a librarian's favorite.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist