Book Review: A Dangerous Remedy
Friday, June 1, 2018 at 9:42AM
Windy City Reviews

A Dangerous Remedy: (A Sheriff Matt Callahan Mystery)Russell Fee Oak Park, Illinois: Boreas Press, May 25, 2017, Trade Paperback and E-book, 306 pages.

Reviewed by Roxe Anne Peacock

In A Dangerous Remedy, the author engages readers from the very first page. After Matt Callahan is disfigured in an acid attack, he leaves the big city of Chicago as detective of that city’s police department for a peaceful and quieter life as sheriff in Nicolet County, Michigan. His predecessor left him three open, seemingly minor, and unrelated cases. But when a body is dug up by Callahan and his young female deputy on a remote island in the county, they soon realize that the unsolved cases are neither minor nor unrelated and may have secret ties to a century-old Irish enclave in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, connections to both local and International terrorism that is affiliated with the IRA, and association with online efforts to foment political unrest across the ocean.

"It was dark and the couple who was walking down the dimly lit Chicago street was not prepared for what was in store for them. A man ambushed them by jumping-out from a car and yelling their names. As the couple looked back, the man hurled acid onto their face and bodies. The main target was the woman, who was Muslim. She had upset her family by dating a non-Muslim man. She suffered the brunt of the attack, while her date, Matt Callahan, sat by her side until she died from her injuries."

This is the experience that incites Callahan to leave Chicago law enforcement, disfigured and emotionally scarred, for a quiet and remote island of Nicolet County. The Nicolet County Sheriff Station office was void of any personal trace of its former occupant. It contained a metal desk, a chair, one safe, a clock, a phone, a set of keys, and a framed map. The former sheriff also left Callahan three unsolved case files on the desk, and a handwritten note stating the files needed immediate attention. 

Sheriff Matt Callahan encounters a young attractive blond woman pulling into the gravel driveway of the station. She states that she is there for the position of deputy and that the position has already been funded.After a time, Callahan decides that he will need assistance from someone like this woman who knows the island well, and since she told him that she had already passed the state’s deputy exam, he hires the nineteen-year old on a probationary basis. To Callahan’s surprise, in her he has not only hired a deputy sheriff, but also a secretary-dispatcher. The new deputy, Julie Banville has a few secrets of her own. 

Callahan and his young female deputy dig up a body with a faded tattoo, and he discovers that everything isn’twhat itseems. He then enliststhe help of the Chicago Police Department to identify the tattoo design and its significance. The Northern Irish police are also interested in the deceased man, as he belonged to the IRA. The deceased is also linked to two other deaths in the small Irish community of Nicolet County.

His unveiling of local corrupt officials and their relationship with the IRA fuels Callahan’s fierce determination to discover the truth behind the three deaths. The investigation leads Callahan to an outer island, which is federal land, and where Police Chief Ralf Tanner of the Sault Tribal Police of the Chippewa and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have law enforcement jurisdiction. With Tanner’s assistance, Callahan gets permission to investigate the crimes on this federal land. Callahan’s aid from the Chief Inspector Crowley of Belfast, Interpol, FBI, and Joint Terrorism Task Force in Detroit leads to clues for an explosive climax. 

Author Russell Fee is an excellent writer and has meticulously done his research for A Dangerous Remedy. The story, reminiscent ofWalt Longmire Mystery, is intricately woven with realistic characters and vivid detailed descriptions of a sparsely populated and isolated island with generations-old Irish heritage. The Epilogue leaves readers to believe there is a sequel coming. I look forward to reading more books by this author. 


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