On Memorial Day in Jewel, Minnesota, the half-clothed body of landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River. The investigation falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service. Rumors begin to circulate that the killer must be Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran who has recently returned to Jewel with a Japanese wife. As the town teeters on the edge of more violence, Dern struggles not only to find the truth of Quinn's murder but also put to rest the demons from his own past.
While the mystery is challenging, the writing is gorgeous, and the characters all complex and realistic (with many of them harboring shameful secrets), the novel doesn’t quite work on one level: its structure ... The pull of the mystery makes it easy to dive into 1958 small-town Jewel, in Black Earth County, Minnesota, and be carried along by the Alabaster River, absorbed by the big story questions, losing yourself in the characters’ lives.
Exquisite ... In this page-turning, but also rewarding read, Krueger deepens the tightly-plotted central mystery by examining many horrors of history that reach out to affect the present day ... An excellent mystery but also so much more, making readers care about all of these flawed lives while unearthing painful truths about the xenophobia and racism nestled within small-town America.