Violence, murder and mayhem! Alcohol was king; whiskey ruled. Ghost towns, even ghostly sightings; once thriving communities that sprang up but quickly became “lost towns”. Gold fever, the gold rush and the con men who came along with the rest of the hopeful crowd. River drivers came to towns along the rivers, wild and full of pent-up energy from long months in relative isolation. Homes burned and were lost before help could arrive. Death was always close by. Drawing on newspaper accounts and research, author Larry D. Cotton draws vignettes of what might be called the seedier side of life in Hastings County during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Whiskey and Wickedness Hastings County North is part of the author’s Trent Severn Waterway series. With its companion book, Whiskey and Wickedness Hastings County South, it helps to illustrate not only the differences between the two parts of the County but also the similarities. There is a common theme of violence, drinking, mischance and maiming. Life was difficult and strong drink seemed to be one way to cope. This often resulted in domestic disputes and tragedy. Fights led to murder. Casualties came with both gold and logs and even day-to-day life. Police had trouble policing and, in some cases, the police themselves were the problem with lax practices and corruption. Tales of lawlessness abound. The many maps and photographs and tell their own stories. Prepare yourself for the worst … and the best.