Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, staff members at Poor Richard’s Books & Gifts in Colorado Springs recommend “Fox Creek,” “Hell and Back” and “Calling for a Blanket Dance.”
By William Kent Krueger
From the publisher:
The ancient Ojibwe healer Henry Meloux has had a vision of his death. As he walks the Northwoods in solitude, he tries to prepare himself peacefully for the end of his long life. But peace is destined to elude him as hunters fill the woods seeking a woman named Dolores Morriseau, a stranger who had come to the healer for shelter and the gift of his wisdom.
Meloux guides this stranger and his great niece, Cork O’Connor’s wife, to safety deep into the Boundary Waters, his home for more than a century. On the last journey he may ever take into this beloved land, Meloux must do his best to outwit the deadly mercenaries who follow.
From Jeffery Payne, book department coordinator: Once again we are treated to Mr. Krueger’s unique blend of mystery and Native American mysticism. This story centers on Henry Meloux, age unknown, just shy of ‘ancient’ but he does his best to outwit, and try to survive nature, the spirit world and the cruelty of man. The pace of the story is engrossing and we don’t know until the very end if Henry will be successful, or alive.
Hell and Back: A Longmire Mystery
By Craig Johnson
From the publisher: What if you woke up lying in the middle of the street in the infamous town of Fort Pratt, Montana, where thirty, young Native boys perished in a tragic 1896 boarding school fire? What if every person you encountered in that endless night was dead? What if you were covered in blood and missing a bullet from the gun holstered on your hip? What if there was something out there in the yellowed skies – along with the deceased and the smell of ash and dust – something the Northern Cheyenne refer to as the Éveohtsé-heómese, the Wandering Without, the Taker of Souls? What if the only way you know who you are is because your name is printed in the leather sweatband of your cowboy hat, and what if it says your name is Walt Longmire–but you don’t remember him.
From Jeffery Payne, book department coordinator: Those of us who have followed the lives of Craig Johnson’s characters for the last 18 years – yep, I did the math, 18 years – will not be totally surprised about this latest installment of the Longmire series. Yet, it takes a few chapters into the book to realize that this story is a bit different than others. This is a ghost story. At times we do not know what reality we are witnessing and what perspective we should take. Smartly written and a perfect read for a cool autumn evening or two.
Calling for a Blanket Dance
By Oscar Hokeah
From the publisher: Oscar Hokeah’s electric debut takes us into the life of Ever Geimausaddle, whose family – part Mexican, part Native American – is determined to hold onto their community despite obstacles everywhere they turn. Ever’s father is injured at the hands of corrupt police on the border when he goes to visit family in Mexico, while his mother struggles both to keep her job and care for her husband. And young Ever is lost and angry at all that he doesn’t understand, at this world that seems to undermine his sense of safety. Ever’s relatives all have ideas about who he is and who he should be. His Cherokee grandmother, knowing the importance of proximity, urges the family to move across Oklahoma to be near her, while his grandfather, watching their traditions slip away, tries to reunite Ever with his heritage through traditional gourd dances. Through it all, every relative wants the same: to remind Ever of the rich and supportive communities that surround him, there to hold him tight, and for Ever to learn to take the strength given to him to save not only himself but also the next generation.
From Jeffery Payne, book department coordinator: This is a story of heart, home and culture. We are introduced to the main character, Ever, through the thoughts and observations of his family. Sometimes Ever’s story is incredibly challenging to witness and read, then there will be tender moments of kindness and complete acceptance. We see first hand the challenges of mixed-race families and colliding mythologies. An incredible first novel, I can’t wait to read the next from this clever author.