Have you noticed the posters for Shuksan Descent around the neighborhood? Do you know why someone is advertising an e-book to Wallingford? We got the scoop from Shuksan Descent’s author, Barrett Schmanska. And it has something to do with Wallingford Center!
The e-book Shuksan Descent tells the story of Gary Patrick, a backhoe operator who discovers human bones at a construction site on the Shuksan Indian Reservation, near Mount Shuksan. Bureaucracy, politics, religion, history, intrigue, suspense, murder, and a treasure hunt (minus the pirates!) follow in this fun, locally-inspired novel. The book is sympathetic to the history and culture of tribal populations while also demonstrating some bad faith by certain members of the community. It all comes down to trust, faith, reverence for art and history, and connections with neighbors. Sounds familiar, eh, Wallingford?
Wallingford Center is the location of an early scene in the book. In Chapter Two, a widowed mother of three finds something of historical significance in the basement of Wallingford Center. Her discovery helps Gary unravel the mystery that occupies this novel’s pages. The Wallingford Center scene, though, made me realize I didn’t have any clue when the action of this book takes place. I didn’t recognize the Wallingford Center in the book as being the one I now shop in, nor the historic schoolhouse I’ve read about. For example, Schmanska describes Wallingford Center as a shopping center where a stroller-pushing parent feels out of place because there are no other children around. Things have changed, that’s for sure! At first glance, this book could’ve taken place anywhere from the 1970’s til now. But I was later able to narrow down the time frame based on an internet reference. As a reader, I enjoyed trying to solve that mystery-within-a-mystery.
Barrett Schmanska does a great job describing some of the beautiful places in which his characters live and work, generally north of Seattle along the Sound. At times the story’s action was slowed by too much verbiage, but overall the book flows very well. I did struggle to keep track of a few relationships, but it didn’t matter in the end. The later chapters of the book center around a specific circle of individuals who are well known to the reader by the end of the story.
By the time I read half-way through Shuksan Descent, I just had to know how it ended. I’m a picky reader, so that’s saying something. And I appreciated learning how hard it was for tribal members to obtain formal education just a few generations ago. Finally, I don’t want to give anything away, but I was both pleased and surprised by one tribal perspective of a scientific concept which I take for granted. I didn’t see it coming, either. It was a nice bonus, and a thought-provoking way to end this story.
About the Author
Barrett and his physician wife live in Tangletown. He’s been working with Indian Tribes in Washington and Alaska since 1993, and he currently manages construction projects for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Indian Reservation. Shuksan Descent is Barrett’s second book. His first, Bigfoots I Have Known, was self-published in 2002 and will be re-released this Fall by Bennett and Hastings Publishing.
About The Cover
The cover is an illustration of a scene in the book drawn by Robin James. Robin James is a book illustrator who is best known for her illustrations in the Serendipity Book children’s series, which was tremendously popular in the seventies. Robin also created the “Wheedle on the Needle,” which was the Seattle Supersonics’ mascot in the early eighties. Robin grew up in Seattle.
How to Get a Copy
This novel is a Kindle e-book. Get it on Amazon for $7.99 by clicking here. (If you don’t have Kindle or another e-reader, you can download Kindle for PC to read the book on your computer after purchasing.)