Book Review: The Curse of Deadhorse Canyon

Hey, everyone! My reading time has been limited the past few weeks as I’m busy with edits for my upcoming releases. It took me longer to read this book than usual, but I enjoyed it immensely.

Blurb

In 1878 a drunken hoard of silver miners raided a Cheyenne village while the tribe’s warriors hunted buffalo. A small band of young braves, not yet old enough to join the hunt, escaped and rode for help. Their efforts failed when they were discovered by the raiders, who ran them over a cliff along with all the tribe’s horses that had been left behind.

When the warriors returned and found the devastation, the tribe’s medicine man, Black Cloud, placed a curse on the site.

A century and a half later, a scandalous Top Secret project is under construction in the same Colorado wilderness. Bryan Reynolds discovers that its roots lie in the same greed, corruption, and exploitation of the Earth that precipitated the curse.

But before he can expose what he’s found, he’s killed in a suspicious accident that his wife, Sara, miraculously survives. Her memory of where they were or what they’d discovered, however, is gone.

Neither Sara nor Bryan’s life-long Cheyenne friend, Charlie Littlewolf, will rest until they find out what Bryan discovered that resulted in his death.

Charlie is acutely aware that the only way to solve the mystery is through connecting with the grandfather spirits. To do so he must return to his roots and the teachings of his medicine man grandfather. His journey back to the Cheyenne way includes ancient rituals and ceremonies that guide him and Sara to the answers they seek.

As a descendant of Black Cloud, his destiny is deeply embedded in the fulfillment of the original curse, which was triggered by the scandalous government project Bryan discovered. Charlie’s quest has only just begun.

A government conspiracy lies at the core of the story, though this first volume of the trilogy concentrates on Sara and Charlie discovering what Bryan knew that got him killed.

Modern man’s disregard for the environment, which conflicts with Native American philosophies of animism and of honoring the Earth, plays an important part. Past pollution caused by 19th century mining is inherent to the story as well as contemporary activities such as fracking.

Various paranormal and supernatural elements including detailed descriptions of Cheyenne rituals and ceremonies such as the sacred red pipe, ceremonial fasting, and the sweat lodge are included. The Cheyenne’s name for the Great Spirit is Maheo, who is referred to throughout. There are numerous other-worldly situations included, based on the experiences of the story’s Cheyenne co-author. While the story is fictitious, these depictions are authentic.

Modern technology plays a significant role in juxtaposition to traditional Native American elements. Astronomy as well as the ancient art and science of western astrology play roles as well in helping direct Sara and Charlie to the answers they need.

In essence this saga’s theme includes the collision of two disparate cultures and their respective attitudes toward the Earth, one of which is honor, the other exploitation.

These complexities are what expanded this story into a trilogy. Native American history is touched upon, but will be covered in greater detail in subsequent volumes.

My Review

Having been interested in the Native American way of life for some time, The Curse of Deadhorse Canyon piqued my interest.

Co-authored by Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun (a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe), the book has elements of murder, a government conspiracy, greed, environmental issues, and Native American legends.

The writing style of the authors drew me in, with many descriptive scenes that made me feel I was right with the characters. The plot is well-paced and keeps the reader in suspense. It was also educational (not in a boring way), and I learned several things about the Cheyenne culture. The development of the main characters, Sara Reynolds and Charlie Littlewolf, is realistic.

All-in-all, this is a well-rounded story, both character and plot-driven. It’s the first of a trilogy, and I look forward to the upcoming release of the second book.

Five stars.

31 thoughts on “Book Review: The Curse of Deadhorse Canyon

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book, Joan. I too have a deep interest in all things Native American and especially traditions and rituals. I have this book waiting on my TBR list and I look forward to diving in!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I became fascinated with Native American culture when I was a young girl. I even chose to incorporate it into my western story for Unshod. (I hope I did it justice.) It’s that shared-brain thing again.

    This book sounds like one I’d really enjoy.. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It doesn’t surprise me at all. Of course, it’s our shared brain! I loved your story in Unshod and I do believe you did it justice.

      Would you believe I once wanted a tee-pee?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How wonderful to read your review this morning, Joan. I enjoyed Marcha’s book immensely, and I’m so glad she’s gotten a thumbs up from you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t say I’ve read a book quite like this, but the supernatural and paranormal elements along with information about the Cheyenne culture definitely intrigue me. Fab review, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds interesting, Joan. I used to read a lot of Tony Hillerman’s mysteries and always loved how he drew on Native American culture. Glad to hear you’re looking forward to book two.

    Liked by 1 person

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