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Return to Kirk's Landing by Mike Young

Reviewed by Alex Binkley

Corporal Dave Browne, the head of the RCMP detachment in the small town of Kirk's Landing, has a chance encounter with a Toronto-based biker gang that he had once infiltrated while a big-city undercover cop. This sets in motion a deadly confrontation with the gang's leader, who has been taken over by the Wendigo, an evil spirit that Dave fought off a year earlier with help from the local First Nations community.

Return to Kirk's Landing is the sequel to Young's first novel, Kirk's Landing, in which Browne ends up in the small mill town and summer cottage community after his cover is blown while investigating Sasquatch's gang in Toronto. In the sequel, Browne is still trying to adjust to small-town life as well as the absence of his new girlfriend when the bikers roll through his highway speed trap on their way to Winnipeg. Browne chooses not to stop the gang when he recognizes Sasquatch. But the biker leader senses something unusual about the free pass by the local cop, and is drawn back to the town by the lucrative prospects of selling drugs to its summer vacationers. Sasquatch discovers that Browne is heading up the local RCMP there, and plans his revenge.

The Wendigo has not only turned Sasquatch into even more of a monster than his usual self, but it gives him the power to fade and kill at will. The evil spirit also sows disharmony in everyone and everything around it. As its hold over Sasquatch grows, the town's denizens become depressed and cantankerous, the local bears become aggressive and the weather turns foul. Kirk's Landing is soon a very miserable place.

Browne is mystified by the sudden unhappy and unhealthy situation in the community until he learns that Sasquatch is in town and not in Winnipeg as thought. Then the challenge becomes finding and confronting his spirit-possessed enemy to end the mounting toll of victims. Once again Browne seeks out the help of his First Nations friends to defeat the Wendigo.

The book should appeal to crime and mystery readers. Young successfully captures small-town policing with Browne's detachment struggling to cope with a rising wave of petty crime, drug busts and the arrival of summer vacationers. Browne applies the law judiciously, giving minor infractions a pass if the person shows potential to improve while throwing the book at serious lawbreakers. Return to Kirk's Landing is also a story of personal redemption and a community recovering from past troubles.

Return to Kirk’s Landing is published by Deux Voiliers Publishing.

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