Indian Paul

By John Moore
IN HIS first book, John Moore, a young and brilliant Midwestern writer, portrays the effect of a brutal murder upon the year-round residents of a deserted summer resort on Lake Huron. Mr. Moore writes with a sensitive understanding of small-town life which could only result from personal experience. He enshrouds his ghostly village with a post-Labor Day atmosphere of lethargy. The cottages on the beach and half the stores along the main street are boarded up, and the few remaining male inhabitants wait idly in the Broken Lantern Lunch Room and Bus Stop until it is time for the morning mail.
With no excuse for existence until next season, the local populace and the readers are bedded down for the winter when suddenly Indian Paul, the inconsequential, drink-cadging son of one of the town’s less indolent aborigines, inexplicably goes berserk. The town, forcibly roused from hibernation, pulsates with renewed energy. With the same careful attention to detail with which he closed the community, Mr. Moore brings the town to life again. The main street becomes jammed with curious visitors, and the school children are so excited that their teachers cannot control them.
The rest of the novel has a familiar look to readers of Western stories. From this point on the story follows traditional patterns. The ending is preposterous, and as far as plot is concerned, Mr. Moore is not convincing. What redeems Indian Paul is its careful study of the less exciting aspects of small-town life, one which instantly marks John Moore as an author with great potentialities.