Skookum Summer

A Novel of the Pacific Northwest

Jack Hart

  • Published: 2014. Paperback May 2016
  • Subject Listing: Literature / Fiction; Pacific Northwest
  • Bibliographic information: 309 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

As Skookum Summer begins, the year is 1981, and reporter Tom Dawson slinks back to his tiny Puget Sound hometown after making a disastrous mistake at the LA Times. Working reluctantly at the local weekly, the Big Skookum Echo, Tom is drawn into investigating a powerful logger's murder.

As the mystery deepens, the murder exposes the strains on the community as pollution, development, and global change threaten traditional Northwest livelihoods. It also forces Tom to confront his own past and discover what home really means to him. Hart weaves together a gripping and suspenseful plot with richly observed Pacific Northwest history and a vivid picture of a community on the brink of change.
Jack Hart is a former managing editor at the Oregonian, writing coach, and author of Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction.

"Skookum Summer has the pleasing rhythm of an old fashioned movie and serves as an engaging ode to the dark and charming twilight of Northwest logging towns. In his novel, Jack Hart capably juggles murder and romance, meth labs and fly fishing, journalistic ethics and small-town ethos, all with aplomb."
-Jim Lynch, author of Truth Like the Sun

"A highly skilled writer with a love of the Northwest, Hart paints a strong and vivid portrait of an important era in Northwest history, when we went from logging and fishing to software and finance."
-William Dietrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the Seattle Times and author of The Final Forest

"Hart's debut is both a compelling mystery and a serious work of literature about coming of age, the dying newspaper business, and changes sweeping the Pacific Northwest forests. The writing is lyrical and the landscape is so expertly drawn that readers will be transported there even if they never leave their houses."
-Bruce DeSilva, author of Providence Rag

"Jack Hart knows the Pacific Northwest waters and woods and characters as if he grew up on Puget Sound and still lives there, which he did and does. Skookum Summer features a hotshot young newshound stalking the bad guys-log rustlers and meth cookers-but it's even more a book about place. Hart nails it."
-Robin Cody, author of Ricochet River

"Skookum is a Pacific Northwest Indian word that translates to 'powerful,' 'splendid,' or 'memorable.' Jack Hart's prose is skookum. So is this novel."
-Richard Hoyt, author of Darwin's Secret


"Skookum Summer is a suspenseful and satisfying whodunit, but it is, simultaneously, the fully realized coming-of-age tale of a young man taking stock of himself for the first time. . . . One part murder mystery, one part journey of self-discovery, one part novel of ideas - Skookum Summer accomplishes an astonishing amount in just 300 pages. Jack Hart's substantial book entertains as it provokes thought and shines with the skookum of its subject."
-Joe Garvin, City Living Seattle