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Deep Creek by Dana Hand

by on October 12th, 2010
Deep Creek by Dana Hand Cover Image

Deep Creek is a historical novel that recounts the story of an 1887 massacre of more than 30 Chinese gold miners in a remote area of Idaho along the Snake River. The story begins when a small town judge and former sheriff, Joe Vincent, takes his ten year old daughter, Nell, fishing and Nell ends up snagging a body…and then another one, and another one. The Chinese miners working for the Sam Yup Company have been brutally murdered and their bodies mutilated. Vincent ends up working with a representative of the mining company, Lee Loi, and metis mountain guide Grace Sundown to track the killers and bring them to justice.  The characters are compelling, the story is intriguing, but the history is what really caught me up in this book. Dana Hand is a pen name for Will Howarth and Anne Matthews who have collaborated on eighteen books of nonfiction, many of them on American history. They know their stuff. The Wild West is portrayed in all it’s glory and excitement, but the dark side of land deals, exploitation, and casual, often violent, discrimination against Chinese immigrants and American Indians is the back story.  This is a Mystery, a Western and a character study — not an easy read, but a rewarding one.

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