Written by David A. Robertson
Published in 2017 by Highwater Press
When Cole Harper receives a series of texts from his childhood friend, Ashley, asking him to return to Wounded Sky, it is unexpected to say the least. Cole, now 17, left Wounded Sky with his grandmother and aunt at age 7 and has never returned. They moved to Winnipeg after a traumatic accident and Cole suspects the invitation is to attend a memorial.
Despite his aunt’s protests, Cole flies to Wounded Sky. As he is encounters former friends and classmates, details of the circumstances under which Cole left Wounded Sky emerge: a tragic fire killed many of Cole’s classmates and his mother. Cole was able to save two friends, but many people blame him for the deaths of the others. Cole learns what his aunt has been keeping from him for a decade—he is not welcome at Wounded Sky.
It soon becomes apparent that Ashley did not, in fact, send the texts to Cole. Ashley is in the middle of warning Cole that he should not be there when he is shot and killed. Not only is there is a killer on the loose, but a mystery flu virus is gripping the community and people are dying. Cole tries his best to solve the mystery, but he finds himself implicated in the investigation.
Elements of the supernatural are incorporated as Cole recognizes, and then makes use of, his superhuman strength and speed. In addition to his two oldest friends, Cole is assisted by a shapeshifting coyote named Choch and the ghost of a classmate who was killed in the fire. Additionally, a key theme that emerges from Strangers is Cole’s anxiety and how he manages it in the face of coping with the guilt that results from his involvement in the fire and the anger he faces from much of the community at Wounded Sky.
This gripping and complex novel is the first book in the Reckoner series.
Introducing the Author:
Learning More About the Book:
Read this description of Strangers from the author’s website.
Listen to Shelagh Rogers interview David Robertson on The Next Chapter.
Read this CBC Unreserved interview with David Robertson.