Title – A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain
Author – Adriane Harun
In a remote northern town, young girls; mostly Native Americans, has been gone missing. Though the authorities have many suspects, the local gang of meth dealers at the top of that list, a young group of native and half breed friends may have an altogether suspect. One that steps out of their history and legends.
“…Almost everybody who shows up here has a story, usually embellished and smoothed out. That’s one big difference right off between those who arrive and those who live here. Our own stories were unedited-sprawling and unpretty-and nothing could clip and shape and redefine them as long as we stayed here. As long as we were alive…”
Leo and his friends; Bryan, Tessa, Jackie, and Ursie do their best to keep a low profile. From whatever is taking the girls and from Flacker and his gang until they cannot take it anymore. Bryan is sure Flacker and his hoods are taking the girls, but Leo has a different idea. An idea borne from listening to the tales rattled on by his Uncle Lud. Leo believes something has come to town and they are all in danger.
“…Later, after they’d delivered the boys back to the reserve, Toby asked Uncle Lud, “How did you know to do that boy? Who taught you that song?”
But Uncle Lud couldn’t say, any more than the reserve boys could explain Snow Woman, the will-o’-the-wisp who tried to woo them from this life. They’d have chills for months afterward, even into the summer. A misery set into their bones that even drink couldn’t ease…”
As Bryan put into motion his plan to destroy Flacker and his gang, Ursie is hidden in a hotel room dealing cards with a man, a spirit, a devil called Keven Seven; Leo must find a way to save Tessa from the death that awaits her at human and spirit hands alive.
“…Uncle Lud shouldn’t have known about all that. But he did; I was sure he did. Just as I was sure he saved two boys from Snow Woman and heard Keven Seven instructing Ursie in dark arts. I imagined Uncle Lud in his final hours ascending his own mountain path, standing one last vigil as the Man Who Came Out of a Door in the Mountain arrived in his sights, shadowing the creature until the rock slipped back into place behind him, at least for a while…”
This is one of those books that leaves me conflicted. I wanted to like it much more than I did. I wanted it to be better. I wanted the story to come together and I wanted it to make sense. In the end it does. Sort of. And that’s the problem.
The disappearing girls quickly becomes less of the central theme in the novel and instead is replaced by the small dead end life of the young people involved. Leo and his friends are both outcasts from the native people because of their mixed heritage and outcast from the townspeople due to their native blood. While this could also be a worthy novel it to is left tapped upon but not really explored.
The legends and mysticism of the Native culture is also brought out and for a time it is wondered whether some of the more eccentric characters are in fact spirits of the mountain or just really strange drugged out low-lifes.
It just seems that in this novel all these items have been touched on but not brought together in any kind of real format that enhanced the novel. Lots of ingredients but not stewed to a worthy broth. So what we are left with is a sense of what should have been.