Books by State: Michigan

Crooked Tree by Robert Charles Wilson

“When, in Michigan’s Crooked Tree State Forest, bears suddenly attack man with gruesome ferocity, the Ottawa Indians begin speaking of a malevolent intelligence controlling the bears and Axel Michelson tries to save his life and his Indian wife’s soul.” – Amazon’s summary.

Bears happen to be one of my favorite animals so when I stumbled across this book while looking for good options for a book set in Michigan, it seemed like a winner. I really enjoyed the snippets of passages written from the bears’ perspectives; I thought that was an interesting touch. Also, most of the characters are all very respective of the bears, especially the Ottawas of course, and there are some pretty interesting facts about bear anatomy and the power behind it.

I will say, I don’t know much at all about Ottawa legends, or any Native American tribe legends, so I certainly can’t vouch for authenticity of the legend used in this book or any of the rituals mentioned. Though, I was heartened to read the note at the beginning of the book that the author wrote saying “All references to Ottawa legends and beliefs were based on my independent research and of course any inaccuracies are to be blamed solely on me.”

In regards to the overall writing, pacing, and storyline, I was hooked all the way through. There are some moments of legal talk (since our main character is a lawyer) that slowed me, but they are very few and short passages. The action scenes are nail-biting as they flip from character to character giving you the struggles of each one in tantalizing bits that you are basically speed reading through in order to find out what happens to each person.

It was truly a wild ride! Like I said, I can’t vouch for the legend’s authenticity, but nothing about the story felt gimmicky. It seems like a project that was very well thought out and researched to make it feel as realistic as possible. It’s certainly one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend!

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