A Pam Nilsen Mystery - "Pam Nilsen, the feminist sleuth of Murder in the Collective, is back again, this time looking for teenaged Trish Margolin and the murderer of Trish's best friend."
Barbara Wilson's Murder in the Collective announced the successful union of lesbian feminist politics and murder mysteries. Her new book, Sisters ofthe Road, brings more good news: for Wilson it is a marriage made in heaven. She has strengthened her writing, building on its energetic promise and now she delivers a complex and moving thriller. Pam Nilson, her reluctant sleuth, is struggling to maintain the collective which runs her family's printing business while her twin sister picks coffee beans in Nicaragua. She is also nursing a broken heart after her first woman lover has left town. Naturally her good Samaritan rescue of two young women introduces murder, prostitution, drug dealers, and incest into her already strained life. When one of the girls dies from a beating and the other disappears Pam scours the streets of Seattle and Portland to find her and seek some answers to how a 14-year-old becomes hardened by drugs and crime. The trail leads through scummy artist's lofts, shelters for homeless teens, and inevitably (and sadly) back to the family. It is Pam's capacity for caring about people that makes this novel so compelling. She is inexperienced in almost every aspect of her life: running a business, being gay, and routing out killers and child abusers. But her passionate commitment to people makes it impossible for her to give up on others or on herself. Wilson's forte is depicting this extraordinary quality without letting its possessor appear to be a plaster saint. She portrays exactly how good and evil evolve from the needs and impulses of ordinary people.