Bear Bones


Helen Lockwood's boat was found drifting off Sleeping Bear Dunes with no one aboard. A year later her body was found in a shallow grave on South Manitou Island. She had been in court, fighting with the Park Service who had condemned her family's four hundred-acre orchard and intends to make it part of the new national park.


Burr Lafayette, recently divorced and the deposed head of a major Detroit law firm, has kept the Park Service at bay for seven years, with no end in sight. Until Helen's husband, Tommy, is arrested for her murder. It turns out that he’d been trying to sell the orchards to the Park Service ever since Helen went missing. Tommy may not have been the perfect husband, and the prosecutor has damning evidence, but there's no shortage of people who had their own reasons to murder Helen.


But Burr isn't a criminal lawyer. A man at loose ends, he's a brilliant litigator who prefers sailboats and dogs over courtrooms and clients, but he's convinced there is a clue somewhere that will unlock the truth, even though Tommy may be the murderer.


Bear Bones is being released on the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. Celebrations are planned all year. The Park has been a great success, but its formation was full of controversy.


This is the third book in the Burr Lafayette mystery series.

Available wherever books are sold, in paperback, hardcover, and ebook.

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"A taut, alluring mystery (with) captivating characters."

                                                                         -Kirkus Reviews

"Cutter is on his way to becoming the next Erle Stanley Gardner, the master of courtroom drama, Cutter has found a home with his Burr Lafayette series, and he has a knack of keeping the reader guessing the outcome with complex plotting, deceitful witnesses and romance set against the beautiful backdrop of the Sleeping Bear Dunes. This is Burr Lafayette in his best Perry Mason imitation." 

-Bill Castanier, Lansing City Pulse

"Cutter takes flawed but brilliant attorney, Burr Lafayette through twists and turns in this legal thriller set against the backdrop of the fabled Sleeping Bear dunes. The courtroom showdowns - and Burr's wry, unspoken insights - are as enthralling as the unexpected ending."  

-Ben Beversluis, Grand Rapids Press, Retired

"Bear Bones and Burr Lafayette remind us of what we have and why we love where we are. 

Part mystery, part ode to the last best places, Cutter's prose captures the best of what is always slipping away. A page turner of a mystery." 

-Glen Young, Bear River Literary