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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hunting for Clues

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  Racial tensions between the white and Hmong communities came to light in Wisconsin’s 2004 hunting season. And the recent discussions surrounding the hunting of wolves, which were removed from the federal endangered species list just this year, have sharpened conflicts between those who feel hunting is an enjoyable and healthy pastime and those who feel it’s a cruel and barbaric act.

  Taking this as a starting point, crime fiction author C.J. Box uses his new book, Blood Trail, to delve into the environmental, economical and ideological impact of hunting. His eighth book in the award-winning Joe Pickett series is once again set in Wyoming, the author’s home state, and sees the taciturn game-warden teamed up with his nemesis to investigate the murder of a hunter treated to the same kind of grisly rituals usually reserved for the prey. As a result, state authorities are forced to cut the hunting season short, raising the ire of hunting enthusiasts but meeting with approval from anti-hunting proponents—the most radical of whom is one of the chief suspects in the case.

  Box, an avid outdoorsman and hunter, has been lauded for presenting both sides of the hunting issue. He comes to Mystery One Bookstore on May 29 at 7 p.m.

  Also coming to Mystery One this week is an author who tackles an even more pressing issue: the curbing of civil liberties in contemporary society. The way in which society’s fears and anxieties have been manipulated to forge black-and-white mechanisms for judgment and accountability has long fascinated Barbara Fister. In her new book, In the Wind, she draws parallels between the counterintelligence policies of the Vietnam era (during which the FBI employed measures to “neutralize” political dissidence) and today’s infringements on personal privacy. Fister’s book concerns a female private investigator (and ex-Chicago cop) who unknowingly helps an American-Indian woman escape capture by the authorities. In doing so, she uncovers a plot to suppress some inconvenient truths.

  Like Box, Fister believes that crime fiction is capable of more than just providing gratuitous thrills and reassuringly neat endings. “It helps form our understanding of social issues,” she says on her Web site. “By drawing us into an exploration of that which disturbs us, it can give our deepest fears narrative form and meaning.”

  Fister comes to Mystery One on May 31 at 11 a.m.

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