Mystery Book Reviews

Book Review: Undiscovered Country

By Sandy Amazeen Sep 5, 2008, 2:02 GMT

Book Review: Undiscovered Country

Unaware that his life is about to change in ways he can\'t imagine, seventeen-year-old Jesse Matson ventures into the northern Minnesota woods with his father on a cold November afternoon. Perched on individual hunting stands a quarter-mile apart, they wait with their rifles for white-tailed deer. When the muffled crack of a gunshot rings out, Jesse unaccountably knows something is wrong-and he races through the trees to find his dad ...more

In the crystalline cold of a small Minnesota town one November morning, seventeen year old Jesse Matson and his father Harold head off for a typical deer hunt. With the crack of a rifle shot, the hunting trip is anything but typical when Jesse discovers his fatherís head blown apart. Although ruled a suicide, Jesse is convinced his father was the victim of foul play and is determined to uncover what really took place that frigid morning.

Jesseís mother is no help to the family as she retreats into depression leaving him to wonder why the local sheriff wonít do more. As Jesse digs deeper into the family history, the more convinced he becomes that Clay, his fatherís younger brother was the killer. Unfortunately, hard evidence is difficult to come by and Jesseís life becomes increasingly difficult as his fatherís ghost haunts him. Having read Hamlet in school, Jesse is aware of the parallels and is not certain his fatherís specter is real or a figure of his imagination as he struggles for a way to achieve justice.

Engerís edgy, uneven retelling of the Bardís classic recasts all the main players including an Ophelia, now an immigrant classmate with more then enough troubles of her own. The pacing is frequently bogged down under the weight of an overly descriptive writing style that creates plenty of atmosphere but little forward motion. Jesseís anger at the situation and frustration with the ineffectual sheriff keep the story believable and leaves readers with hope for better things from this up and coming author. 



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