Jim Jackson’s main character Seamus McCree gets himself into situations that are most unlikely, and yet, seem like natural consequences of a normal life. Maybe that’s why I like Seamus. He’s a normal, good guy—he tries to lead a moral life, isn’t a goody-two-shoes, and debates about what actions he’ll take that will damage his soul. In Granite Oath, Seamus babysits his granddaughter Megan at his U.P. residence while his son and daughter-in-law are on a rafting trip in Colorado. At a local art camp for kids, Megan meets Valeria, who is the child and grandchild of illegal aliens—there began his plot and my education.
I didn’t know what a Dreamer was, and, of course, had to try a few times before I got the right definition. Jackson assumes we know more than we do, but that’s okay because it forced me to look up various topics. He provides some explanations, but I wish he would spell out acronyms at least the first time he uses them so we have a clue. I learned about DACA, ICE, a lawsuit found against the state of Texas, Rembrandt, the difference between a pier and a dock (couldn’t confirm that difference via dictionaries), that female eagles are larger than male eagles, there are no poisonous snakes in the U.P. (hard to believe!), UPSET, a thirty-eight-acre fungus (nightmare?), and more. There’s a lot to learn and most of it is fun stuff.
Meth makers who steal propane from local properties used sporadically as vacation camps complicate Seamus’s investigation. Finding Valeria’s mom and protecting and hiding Valeria and her grandmother are Seamus’s main goals. He calls Niki, a former FBI undercover Special Agent and also his lover, to help investigate. Then his half-sister, Colleen, flies in from Boston to assist him by using her accounting skills to audit a business’s books and pole dance. As the plot unfolds, the pace picks up, which means by the time I was half way through the book, I was glued. Seamus’s mom, Trudy, my favorite character, makes an appearance.
I recommend reading Granite Oath. It’s fast paced. Even if you don’t always agree with Seamus’s opinions, you will learn a lot about our immigration laws, agency policies, and the realities of living in Michigan’s U.P.
E. B. Davis