Book Review: Death Along the Spirit Road by C. M. Wendelboe

Death Along the Spirit Road
C. M. Wendelboe
Berkley Prime Crime, March 2011
ISBN 978-0-425-24002-1
Trade Paperback

FBI agent Manny Tanno has been called to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to solve the murder of Jason Red Cloud, a Lakota Sioux land developer. The investigation puts him right back where he began his career in law enforcement as a tribal officer. One of his fellow officers is now in charge, and the competition between them has only intensified over the years as Manny’s stellar reputation has grown. During this investigation, it’s hard to tell if Lt. Lumpy Looks Twice is trying to help or if he’s out to spoil Manny’s success. Manny will need to consider Lakota history as well as sift through old rivalries to solve this murder. Worse, he’s apt to lose his cushy FBI teaching job if he can’t bring the case to a swift conclusion.

I enjoyed this story, more for the well-described setting and characters than for the mystery, which I figured out pretty fast. The writing is excellent and carries the story along at a good pace. I liked the connection of 1890s to 1970s  (AIM) history of the Lakota tribe that carries us forward to the present day. Manny’s preoccupation with his weight and smoking sometimes bugged me, but not enough to become an issue.

Reviewed by C.K. Crigger, November 2011.

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