the next good book

Winter Counts

By David Heska Wanbli Weiden


318 pages

What’s it about? Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  He is raising his 14 year-old nephew, Nathan, and dealing out justice for those on the reservation who are denied it by the system.  It becomes personal for Virgil when Nathan begins to get involved with drugs and the legal system.  Not only must Virgil must come to terms with his conflicted feelings about his Native identity, but he needs to find out who is bringing drugs onto the reservation. What did it make me think about? This book highlights aspects of local and federal law that affect Native Americans on reservations. Should I read it? So I picked this book up thinking it was simple crime fiction.  I was ready for a plot driven book without a heavy message- so I may not have been in the mood to appreciate this book as it should be appreciated.  Although this book is based on solving a crime- it is really a Native American story.   Let’s face it- the Native American story is tragic. The book is compelling and the mystery is solid so I would recommend this to anyone looking for a literary crime story. Quote- “Back in the time before Columbus, there were only Indians here, no skyscrapers, no automobiles, no streets.  Of course, we didn’t use the words Indian or Native American then;  we we’re just people.  We didn’t  know we were supposedly drunks or lazy or savages.  I wondered what it was like to live without that weight on your shoulders, the weight of murdered ancestors, the stolen land, the abused children, the burden every Native person carries.”

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