Book Review – Return to Deadhorse Canyon

Hey, Readers. Happy Tuesday. In 2021, I read a book co-written by Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun titled The Curse of Deadhorse Canyon. I was intrigued not only by the story, but Pete Risingsun is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

I’ve been interested in learning about Native American culture for a while, so I enjoyed learning a bit about them. (As many of you know, I’ve since been reading a series of books that features Native Americans.)

I purchased the second book Return to Deadhorse Canyon when it was released late last year and it just now came to the top of my TBR list. It didn’t disappoint.

My Review:

Return to Deadhorse Canyon is the second book of a trilogy. The action picks up where the first book left off.

Sara Reynolds is determined to carry out her husband’s wishes to expose corrupt government officials. After she goes on television, her life is in more danger. Someone doesn’t want the truth told.

Charlie Littlewolf also wants to avenge his friend’s death. He takes a job with an oil drilling firm, even though he feels they are violating the earth. An accident leaves him severely injured, and he returns to his Cheyenne family in order to heal and learn the ways of his people.

Like the first book, I enjoyed the parts that told of Native American customs. The action is also well-paced throughout most of the book. I did feel it bogged down a bit on the scenes with Sara’s astrologer.

The only other issue I found was the use of regional dialect by two characters from Texas. I’ve lived here all my life and never heard the term “y’all” used when speaking to one person. It was confusing to me.

Other than those two items, this was an enjoyable read. I don’t normally like serial fiction—preferring books of a series have a satisfactory conclusion—but I look forward to the conclusion in book three. There’s also an interesting twist at the end of this one that further entices me to read more.

You can purchase a copy of Return to Deadhorse Canyon by clicking the link above. If you haven’t read the first book, I highly recommend doing so first.

My Top Reads of 2021

Hey, everyone. With 2021 rapidly coming to a close, I wanted to take time to share my top reads for the year.

I’ll preface this post by saying I’ve read many enjoyable books this past year, but there are a few that really stood out for me—ones I’ll remember in the days and months to come.

These are listed in the order I read them.

An Unwanted Guest

This was my first time reading anything by Shari Lapena. The setting is an old-fashioned hotel where there are no modern amenities such as cell phones during the middle of a winter storm. It was a mere coincidence that I finished the book just prior to being stuck at home because Snowmageddon hit Texas in February.

The Curse of Deadhorse Canyon

I’ve been fascinated by Native American culture for quite some time, so this book particularly intrigued me. Co-written by Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun, the book has elements of murder, a government conspiracy, greed, environmental issues, and Native American legends. The second book of this series was recently released, and I’ve already snagged my copy.

She Lies Alone

I discovered the author of She Lies Alone in early 2021 and have since read four of her psychological fiction books. When a writer keeps me guessing as to the killer’s identity, it’s a big plus for me. Laura Wolfe has become one of my auto-buy authors

Death in Panama

I enjoy reading a good legal thriller on occasion. I learned of Death in Panama through fellow author Jan Sikes sometime last year. I had the book on my Kindle for several months, but when I did read it, I wasn’t disappointed. William Venema is a retired attorney and I look forward to more from this author.

The Guilty Husband

I discovered this book through Book Bub. This debut novel of author Stephanie DeCarolis did not disappoint. While I don’t condone extra-marital affairs, I couldn’t help but root for the main character, Vince. And the ending totally surprised me.

Iron Lake

When Judi Lynn wrote a review of this book, I was intrigued enough to buy a copy. William Kent Kruger’s Iron Lake was written and first published in the late 1990s. It’s the first of his Cork O’Connor mysteries and also includes elements of Native American folklore.

Home Before Dark

I read Riley Sager’s latest release, Survive the Night, and it didn’t do much for me. But Mae Clair encouraged me to try Home Before Dark, so I checked out a copy from my local library. How can you go wrong where the setting is a house with a mysterious past that’s been abandoned for twenty-five years and is possibly haunted?

You Can Run

After reading Staci Troilo’s review of this upcoming release by Rebecca Zanetti, I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reader copy. There is mystery and suspense (my favorite genre) with a touch of romance. The book releases in January, and I highly recommend it. It’s the first of Zanetti’s Laurel Snow series and you can bet I’ll be reading the next book.

We Live Next Door

Wrapping up the list is another novel from Laura Wolfe. This was another page-turning psychological thriller set in a small-town neighborhood where things aren’t always as they seem.

That’s it for my top 2021 reads. What are some favorite books you’ve read this year?

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.


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.