the north island report: where to eat in port hardy and port mcneill, updated for 2022

It seems like everything in our lives will be divided by covid -- pre and post. The lockdown, the  case counts, the death counts. Quarantining our groceries. Masks. Vaccines. Hand sanitizer. The anti-maskers. 

Back in 2019, the beforetime, I listed all the decent restaurants in our town and the nearest neighbouring town (40 minutes away). Now the whole restaurant landscape has changed.

Update: For some additional context, I'm adding this, copied and edited from comments.

The population of the two towns: Port Hardy 4200, Port McNeill 2100. This list covers restaurants in both towns.

Port Hardy is a regional hub. The next population centre is in Campbell River, a 2.5-hour drive away, or 2 hours from McNeill. All the other communities in the region are tiny (less than 500 people) and have no restaurants at all.
Hardy is also a hub for campers, hikers, boaters, and nature-lover tourism.

Breakfast/lunch places are plentiful because many people drive and boat long distances to work. Contractors, loggers, fishers, mine work, all picking up breakfast and/or lunch before they head "into the bush".

So tourism + regional hub + workers traveling great distances = a few more restaurants and cafes in the two towns than might be available in other towns of similar sizes.

Sad changes

Fire Chefs, the most amazing fish and chips place, also home to a truly great grilled halibut burger: gone. 

The (mediocre) restaurant that replaced them: gone.

Ha'me, the dining room at the Kwa'lilas Hotel -- the best year-round food in town -- never reopened post-covid. If you ask, staff still says they are closed for renovations, but it appears to be permanent. This is another big loss.

Most disappointing of all, the late, great Cluxewe Waterfront Bistro is no more. This was the only place in the North Island with truly outstanding food and very good wine. It was also in a beautiful secluded location, right on the water. I used to say, only on the North Island do you drive down a dirt road to a four-star restaurant. 

Our first summer, 2019, we went there a handful of times. In 2020, they were the first restaurant to re-open, and we went as often as possible, usually every-other week. And thank goodness we did, because that autumn, they lost their lease and left the area. Such a loss.

Now, the current list, updated after summer 2022

This is not a list of the best restaurants in Port Hardy and Port McNeill: it's a list of all of them. Fortunately they are all at least decent.

Port Hardy

Glen Lyon Inn

This place has a huge and strangely eclectic menu. Some of the food is quite good -- crab cakes that are fresh and not full of breading, nachos with seriously good toppings, excellent burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches. Other items are good enough -- lasagna, fresh salads, steaks, ribs. Nothing is awful. 

What is awful, for me, is the atmosphere -- despite its beautiful location right on the water. Everything is dingy and run-down. I know renovations are expensive, but how much would it cost to sand and re-paint the wooden chairs? Allan thinks I exaggerate, but I just find the atmosphere depressing. I prefer this food for take-out. 

Interesting note: I've heard that diners have seen whales in the inlet right outside the restaurant. I'm skeptical but folks swear it's true.


At the beautiful Kwa'lilas Hotel, the dining room, Ha'me, never re-opened after covid, so now the pub/lounge Nax'id is their only dining option. The food is consistently good. Everything is made with fresh ingredients and care, and the wait staff is always friendly and helpful. 

The menu is annoyingly inconsistent, probably a function of high turnover in the kitchen. Sometimes there are delicious specials available. Other times, not. So although the food is good, many of my favourite things on their old menu are gone.

Another plus: Kwal'lilas and Nax'id are Indigenous-owned, and have a hiring arrangement with North Island College's hospitality program.

Seto's Wok and Grill

Our local Chinese restaurant continues to have consistently good food, although with a frustratingly limited menu. The food is especially good eaten in their dining room, as opposed to takeout. 

This was the last restaurant to return to eat-in dining, and the community is very happy they're back. They are open Wednesday through Saturday -- which is weird, and annoying.

Sporty Bar and Grill

Here's a happy story: a place that improved post-covid! Sporty updated its menu and added weekly specials, giving us many more choices. The food is consistently good. 

Sporty is close Sunday and Monday, even when there are festivals or a market in the park across the street. Also annoying!

Karai Sushi

The Japanese restaurant moved from its odd location at an airport hotel to the town's main drag (in the spot where Fire Chefs used to be). All the food here is good, and business seems to be off-the-charts busy since they moved into town. I am so grateful there is sushi in Port Hardy!

Macy's Place

This is a fish-and-chips food truck. It doesn't match the quality of the late, great Fire Chefs, but the fish, burgers, fish tacos, and fries are quite good.

They're closed in the winter, and everyone's very happy when they reopen.

The same family owns a seafood store that sells freshly caught-and-canned tuna, salmon, and halibut. I haven't tried this yet, as I fear it would be deliciously addictive, and it's super expensive.

Other food in Port Hardy, not open for dinner

Café Guido has great coffee, baked goods, and simple lunch choices. It's also home to a small book- and gift shop, and a co-op selling the work of local artists and artisans. It's unique on the North Island, and it's mobbed during the summer.

Copper & Kelp is Café Guido's newer store. In the local lingo, it is "at the beach," as opposed to "in town". Besides sandwiches, coffee, and baked goods, they sell local artisan products of all types, plus dinners to go. We were really surprised that Guido's opened a second place in this location, and our fingers are crossed that it will succeed.

Taif's Kitchen is an exciting new option. A family of Syrian refugees opened a food truck! The food is really good and it's a popular choice.

Market Street Cafe has really good -- and ridiculously inexpensive -- breakfasts. They are the only place in town that bakes their own bread and muffins. 

Mo's is a pizza, fried chicken, and gyros joint. The food is not bad. 

U Cafe sells Chinese takeout with a limited menu in the mall. (Don't think suburban mall with dozens of stores and a food court. It's a one-story, T-shaped building with the town's only supermarket, a pharmacy, and a fast-food joint.) U Cafe's food is fair, and it extends our Chinese-food options. The big drawback is that it's cash only.

Port Hardy also has a Subway and an A&W

Port McNeill

Devil's Bath Brewery

This is the most exciting new opening in our area: a spacious, hip-looking restaurant specializing in thin-crust pizza and their own microbrews. They serve a variety of interesting pizzas and pastas, plus a few nightly specials, in a lovely relaxing space. Big thumbs up. 

Archipelago's Bistro

Despite its name, this is actually a diner. The food is consistently good food and there are some interesting options on the menu: along with the usual burgers and sandwiches, there are a variety of pastas, risottos, and poutines. They make a salad with figs, roasted pear, and gorgonzola cheese that I cannot resist. 

Sportsman Steak and Pizza House

This place renovated and revamped post-covid, and has a steak, seafood, and pizza menu. The food is good, the atmosphere is very nice, and it's in a nice setting directly across from the marina. 

Gus's Pub

Gus's serves sports-bar standards in a semi- sports bar atmosphere. We've never had bad food here, but I'm bored with these menus. 

Good food, but not dinner

Tia's Cafe has great coffee, breakfasts, and slightly Mexican-themed lunches. This is my top choice if I need to meet someone in Port McNeill for work.

Mugz 2.0 is a cafe serving freshly baked pastries, muffins, and bread. They use fresh, local ingredients and they know what they're doing. Mugz was closed for years, pre-covid, and we're all rooting for it to survive.

Port McNeill also has a Subway. There is also a Chinese takeout place with an ancient, greasy storefront that does not inspire confidence.


in which i observe education, job creation, and community building in progress

For the last couple of weeks, it's been my privilege to witness some exciting progress for our community, plus have a really interesting experience.

Literacy first

As a librarian and library manager in a remote region, I work closely with the local literacy society, and I sit on its board of directors. Before becoming a libarian, I didn't know anything about literacy societies or what they do. 

Our local literacy society provides some services that, to my mind, the library should provide, such as storytimes -- but cannot, because we lack adequate resources. But it also provides services that are beyond our scope, like in-school tutoring, adult computer training, book giveaways, family literacy days, and other important literacy-focused programs.

LLS is a small but mighty collection of dedicated, focused, community-minded activists who know how to get things done. Recently the LLS coordinator asked board members to help interview candidates for a post-secondary educational opportunity. The same call went out last year, but I was too busy to participate. This year the ask came at the perfect time, and I jumped on the opportunity. 

Grant wizards

What drives the success of our LLS -- and many other excellent local organizations -- is people who are always alert for opportunities, and know how to respond quickly and effectively. In this case, they applied for and received funding for ten students to attend the local college for a one-year course to become an educational assistant (EA) or community support worker (CSW). [For US readers, a college is a post-secondary institution distinct from a university.] 

EAs work one-on-one with students with special needs, helping them succeed in school. CSWs play a similar role with adults in the community, helping them live independently. Those are both important community jobs, but this diploma goes much further. It opens a huge array of employment possibilities, and can also be used as a building block towards other degrees in education or social work. 

Education + jobs + support workers = win-win-win

The purpose of the interviews was to find ten applicants who would be most likely to succeed in the program. Of the ten grant recipients from last year, eight are working full-time, and two went on for further education: an unqualified success.

In our small, remote communities, resources are scarce, and jobs are practically nonexistent. Most available jobs are precarious -- casual, on-call, very limited. Many folks juggle several jobs in order to survive. Of course, small towns aren't the only place this happens. But here, this is (almost) all that's available.

Most of the people in the program are already working as EAs or CSWs, but without a diploma, they earn less and are only eligible for casual and on-call work. The diploma course leads directly to permanent employment and an opportunity to advance through a salary grid. 

As it creates jobs in the community, it also creates more trained workers to assist children and adults who need support. The value of this cannot be overstated.

In keeping with the college's and province's mandates, the course has a special focus on the needs of Indigenous children and adults in care. Also hugely important for our community.


Over the course of three days, we listened to candidates' stories -- why they wanted to be part of the program, their career goals, how the program would advance their goals. Each applicant was a caring, dedicated public worker who wants to serve their community. And each was hard-working, striving person, juggling work, family, and their own education.

The funding (a combination of federal and provincial money) will pay for tuition and textbooks for the EA/CSW degree, and includes some supports to eliminate other obstacles, such as tech, transportation, or work attire. I've heard so many stories of students who received tuition assistance, yet were still unable to attend school because they couldn't afford textbooks or other expenses. This program is designed to work.


housekeeping complete

* The best-of page has been updated to 2021.

* The links on that page are working again.

* Internal links on multi-part posts are also working again -- i.e. on the second part of a post links to the first, the third part links to the first and second, and so on.

* Other internal links on random posts throughout the blog don't work.


housekeeping in progress: apologies for possibly sending old posts

For a very long time, old links on this blog have not worked. This has always bothered me. 

It's bad enough that I lost many thousands of comments (2006 through 2019). I live in hope that this may change, if Blogger fixes the import/export issue, but as time goes by, that seems more and more doubtful. 

Added to that, the posts linked on wmtc's greatest hits are not functioning. It really bothers me.

So I've decided to fix them. I can't find and fix all the internal links on posts, but I can fix the greatest hits page

While I do that, and depending how you read this blog, it's possible that old posts will be sent to you or appear in your feed. Apologies in advance.


thoughts on privilege: using less oxygen in the room

Many years ago, at one of our wmtc parties, I was chatting with a new guest, the spouse of a friend. We had never met before, and they didn't know anyone else at the party. Wanting to be a good host, I made it a point to spend some time with her, and asked about her work. She answered briefly and shyly; seeking to draw her out, I asked some clarifying questions.

Another guest was also present, and they jumped in, verbally rolling their eyes at my apparent ignorance, and answered the question not meant for them. 

I wanted to say, I know that. I wasn't asking for information, I was trying to start a conversation. But obviously I couldn't say that, so I said nothing while the third party answered the question meant for the newer, less talkative guest. Then I tried again with a more specific question that the third person couldn't answer.

More importantly, I made a mental note of this conversation: don't be that person, realizing that I have been, more than once.

Leaving space for others to speak

Several years later, during some union training, I was reminded of this exchange. One of our ground rules for group engagement was to leave space for others to speak

This was revelatory to me! A new thought about another way we can see -- and check -- our privilege. A step we can take towards being an ally of people with less privilege.

Since this was made visible to me, I've become increasingly sensitive to the dynamics of group conversations. I've been challenging myself to do better. 

I think of it as using less oxygen in the room.

A diversity of voices > the sound of our own voice

Using less oxygen in the room means leaving space for others to speak -- space for voices  that may not speak as often or answer as quickly. 

These voices may be quiet from a lifetime of receiving messages that their ideas are not important and not welcome -- and the resulting inexperience, which may have led to a lack of confidence. 

The voices may be quiet from a lifetime of frustration and futility in trying to compete with the dominant voices. 

Or folks may simply be reluctant to speak in front of others. Some of us gain a lot of speaking experience in our daily work -- but many people do not. For many people, raising a hand to speak in a group setting constitutes public speaking, and public speaking is many people's greatest fear.

Those of us who don't fall into any of those categories can use less oxygen in the room for folks who do.

Slamming the buzzer

My new awareness of this dynamic has led me to examine why I and others might use up so much oxygen -- why we might claim an inequitable share of verbal space. 

Why do so many people respond to questions as if they're hitting a buzzer in a game show? Why do people need to be the first person to respond? Why are we so keen to display our knowledge?

This dynamic is separate and distinct from mansplaining. In fact, taking up too much oxygen in the room may be a result of having been mansplained excessively in the past: a rush to display knowledge before anyone else can shut you down. 

It may be the result of a lifetime of being praised for their intelligence -- and only for that, so that our positive self-image is inextricably connected to how much we know.

It may be the result of hyper-competitiveness -- viewing every interaction as a contest to be won or lost.

It may be that we're passionate about the topic and just love to talk about it.

And of course, it may be any combination of the above, and very likely some motivations I haven't thought of here.

These days, when I find myself in a group dynamic, I am learning to ask myself: Do I need to answer this question? Do I need to speak? Am I contributing something unique or necessary? And I practice being comfortable keeping my knowledge to myself.  

An active silence

Using less oxygen in the room is something men can do when there are women present. 

It's something white people can do when there are people of colour present.

It's something settler people can do when there are Indigenous people present.

It's something more experienced people can do when there are younger or less experienced people present.

It's something anyone who in a group majority can do to help anyone in a group minority feel more comfortable speaking. 

It comes down to something both simple and challenging: checking your own ego.

It doesn't mean not speaking. It means not needing to speak your every thought. It means knowing the answer, but checking your impulse to answer it, waiting to see if someone else does.

You don't need to be the smartest person in the room.

You don't need to display your knowledge. 

You don't need to draw attention to yourself.

It's not a contest. 

Your silence -- your deference to others -- can be your contribution.


what i'm reading: the leak: great junior graphic for the young activist in your life

It starts with a trip to the dentist. Ruth Keller swears she brushes her teeth and flosses daily, yet the cavities are piling up. The dentist lectures, her mom scolds. No one believes that Ruth takes proper care of her teeth -- but she does. 

Then Ruth and a friend see workers dumping something into the lake. 

Ruth already writes an online newletter. She gets to work investigating, and repurposes her newsletter into an exposé. 

In The Leak, Kate Reed Petty and Andrea Bell have created an updated and more complex descendant of Harriet, from the classic Harriet the Spy. Ruth is the perfect young hero: smart, brave, misunderstood, flawed -- learning and growing.

Ruth dives headlong into her activism -- rashly, clumsily, and with great courage. Some adults oppose her and try to stop her. A couple of adults recognize her potential and offer guidance and support. Ruth is smart and resourceful and finds a way through, but not without a cost. As she exposes the truth about her town's poisoned water, many hard truths are exposed to her.

The story references the real-life story of the poisoned water in Flint, Michigan. There's an explanatory epilogue that would come off as unnecessary and didactic in an adult novel, but I appreciate it for younger readers. 

I would have loved this book as a child. In many ways, I was Ruth -- a writer, an activist, straddling the line between my nerdy preferences and my need to fit in. Ruth's journey would have been the perfect fantasy for me, but this book would have wide appeal for many young readers. 

I loved Kate Reed Petty's debut novel, True Story. On Petty's website I see she has written another junior graphic, which I will now look for. I'm looking forward to whatever she writes next.


bill russell, rest in power: a trailblazing activist

Basketball legend Bill Russell died this month at the age of 88. Although I remember his playing days, it's not Russell's incredible and indelible sports record that leads me to honour him. If you're not familiar with Russell's life as a trailblazing activist, this is an excellent history lesson; if you are, it's a heartfelt reminder. 

It's also a reminder of what Russell endured, playing for one of the US's most racist cities. I don't know if things have changed greatly for people of colour in Boston, but when Canadians talk about the US South as if racism was somehow confined there, I always think of Boston.

Among Pro Athletes, Bill Russell Was a Pioneering Activist

Russell marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke out against segregation in Boston public schools and backed Muhammad Ali in his opposition to the Vietnam War.

It's easy to remember the shots that Bill Russell blocked or the N.B.A. championships he won. After all, there were so many of each that he is considered one of the greatest basketball players in history, and in some corners, the greatest, period.

But after his nearly nine decades of life, his most consequential legacy has less to do with the sport he dominated than his work off the court. From the time he was a young man to his death at age 88 on Sunday, Russell was a civil rights activist who consistently used his platform as a celebrity athlete to confront racism, no matter whom it alienated or what it did to his public popularity. And he was one of the first to do so.

Now, it is common for athletes across many sports to be outspoken, no doubt inspired by Russell. The N.B.A. players' union encourages its members to be passionate about their politics, especially around social justice. Without Russell's risking his own livelihood and enduring the cruelties he did as a Black player in the segregated Boston of the 1950s and 1960s, athlete activism would look much different today, if it existed at all.

From left: Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor)

"The blueprint was written by Russell," the Rev. Al Sharpton said in an interview on Sunday. He continued: "It is now trendy on social media to take a stand. He did it when it was not trendy. He set the trend."

Spike Lee, the director and longtime N.B.A. fan, said in a text message, "We are losing so many greats my head is spinning."

Lee said Russell "is right up there with Jackie Robinson as changing the game in sports and activism in the United States of America, and we are all better because of these champions."

Russell, a native of West Monroe, La., was a trailblazer from the moment he set foot on an N.B.A. court.

"My rookie year, in the championship series, I was the only Black player for both teams," Russell once quipped to an audience while accepting an award in Boston. "And see what we did, we showed them diversity works."

Russell marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 in the prime of his playing career (he played for the Celtics from 1956 to 1969). He was invited to sit onstage behind King, but he declined. That same year, Russell offered his public support for demonstrations against segregation in Boston public schools, and addressed Black students taking part in a sit-in.

When the civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated, also in 1963, Russell contacted Evers's older brother, Charles, in Jackson, Miss., and offered his assistance. The elder Evers suggested that Russell run an integrated basketball camp in the Deep South, something that would have been a significant safety risk for Russell. He said yes, and despite the death threats, went through with the camp.

Four years later, when the boxer Muhammad Ali was faced with a torrent of criticism for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War, Russell, the N.F.L. star Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor and still playing at U.C.L.A.) gathered in Cleveland and decided to support Ali. This was not a popular stance, not that Russell cared.

Russell wrote immediately afterward that he was envious of Ali.

"He has absolute and sincere faith," Russell wrote for Sports Illustrated. "I'm not worried about Muhammad Ali. He is better equipped than anyone I know to withstand the trials in store for him. What I'm worried about is the rest of us."

Russell's activism made an impact on generations of athletes. That included Spencer Haywood, who played for Russell as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics, whom Russell coached for four seasons. (In 1966, Russell became the first Black coach in the N.B.A.)

Haywood said in an interview on Sunday that he and Russell would often dine at a Seattle restaurant called 13 Coins after road trips, and Russell would regale him with stories about the civil rights movement. During these dinners, Russell lauded the young player's willingness to sue the N.B.A. in 1971 for not allowing players to enter the league until four years after their high school graduation — a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and was eventually decided in Haywood's favor.

"He was teaching me because he knew what I had stood up for with my Supreme Court ruling," Haywood said. "And he admired that in me. And I was so overwhelmed by him knowing."

Haywood said his teammates would jokingly refer to Russell as Haywood's "daddy" because of how close they were. Sometimes, Haywood's late-night talks with Russell came with surprising advice about activism.

"He always used to tell me about not getting too carried away because we were in the '70s," Haywood recalled. "He was kind of guiding me, saying: 'Don't go out too far right now because you are a player and you need to play the game. But you've made one stand and you did great in that, but don't go too far.' He was, like, giving me a guardrail."

Russell never feared going too far as a player activist himself. He wasn't deterred by the racist taunts he absorbed at games, or when vandals broke into his home, spray-painted epithets on the wall and left feces on the bed after he moved his family to Reading, Mass. When he tried to move his family to a different house nearby, some residents of the mostly white neighborhood started a petition to keep him out.

"I said then that I wasn't scared of the kind of men who come in the dark of night," Russell wrote for Slam magazine in 2020. "The fact is, I've never found fear to be useful."

He didn't always have the support of his teammates. In 1961, for example, the Celtics traveled to Lexington, Ky., for an exhibition game against the St. Louis Hawks. When the restaurant at the hotel would not serve the team's Black players, Russell led a strike of the game. His white teammates played the game. Bob Cousy, one of Russell's white teammates, told the writer Gary M. Pomerantz decades later for the 2018 book "The Last Pass: Cousy, the Celtics and What Matters in the End" that he was "ashamed" at having taken part in the game. President Barack Obama cited the 1961 story in giving Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

"For decades, Bill endured insults and vandalism, but never let it stop him from speaking up for what's right," Obama said in a statement Sunday. "I learned so much from the way he played, the way he coached, and the way he lived his life."

The activism didn't stop as Russell got older. In recent years, Russell has been a public supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback who began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality in 2016.

"Bill Russell was a pioneer," Etan Thomas, a former N.B.A. player and political activist, said in a text message Sunday. Thomas said Russell was "an athlete who used his position and platform to stand up for a bigger cause." He added that "he was the type of athlete I wanted to be like when I grew up."

Russell's influence in leading the 1961 strike could be felt in 2020, when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play a playoff game as a protest of police brutality. On Twitter, Russell wrote that he was "moved by all the N.B.A. players for standing up for what is right." In a piece for The Players' Tribune weeks later, Russell wrote, "Black and Brown people are still fighting for justice, racists still hold the highest offices in the land."

Sharpton pointed to those actions as Russell’s legacy.

"He did it before some of these guys were born," Sharpton said. "And I think that what they need to understand is every time a basketball player or athlete puts a T-shirt on saying something about Trayvon or 'I Am Trayvon' or 'Black Lives Matter' or whatever they want to do — 'Get your knee off my neck!' — they may not know it, but they are doing the Bill Russell."

Sopan Deb is a basketball writer and a contributor to the Culture section. Before joining The Times, he covered Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign for CBS News. He is also a New York-based comedian. @sopandeb

Also: "The Bill Russell I Knew For 60 Years," by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 


what i'm reading: like other girls: best youth fiction i've read in a long time

A girl wants to play football.

That's all.

Well, not quite all. Mara wants to be herself. And that self wants to play football, among other things. 

Mara isn't trying to make a statement. She doesn't want to be political, and although she knows she's gay, she doesn't want to come out -- not yet, not until she is far away from her hometown.

But when other athletic girls also want to join the football team -- and when one of them is out, and political -- there is no "just". The girls' decisions prove to be a crucible for everyone involved: coaches, football players, siblings, parents, and of course the girls themselves. Many fail, and cause harm. Some rise to the challenge. Everyone is changed by the experience.

Friendship, romance, self-acceptance, identity, sexuality, gender, adult support, adult betrayal, leadership, morality, ethics -- all those themes and more are woven through Like Other Girls. And all through interesting characters, realistic and compelling plot lines, with humour and with passion.

Like Other Girls is one of the most fully realized and well written YAs I have read in many years. Cheers to Britta Lundin! I hope we see many more wonderful books from her.


what i'm reading: killers of the flower moon: the osage murders and the birth of the fbi

I'm sure many of you have read Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. It's an award-winning bestseller that garnered a lot of attention when it was published in 2017. If you haven't read it, get it from your library, or add to your Kindle, or run to your favourite local bookstore to pick it up. It is an excellent and very worthwhile read.

Killers of the Flower Moon is written like a cold-case murder mystery. Grann reveals the evidence both of long-ago murders and the detectives who sought to solve them, unwinding the many knots, false clues, and dead ends. It's exciting and suspenseful -- and when the case appears to be solved, the reader discovers  another, deeper level to the mystery. 

Along the way, Grann reveals an Indigenous community that was devastated by settlers who regarded them as subhuman, and completely expendable. Lives were shattered -- from greed, from hatred, and from total disregard. It's safe to say that most readers who pick up this book have never heard of the Osage murders. The book is revelatory, yet in keeping with everything we know about the fates of Indigenous people in the Americas. The Osage murders were a modern version of Pizarro claiming Atahualpa's gold.

Killers of the Flower Moon is a fast-paced, accessible read -- gripping and compelling -- the kind of story that seems almost impossible to believe, and yet is thoroughly researched and documented. Truly excellent narrative nonfiction.