An addictive and groundbreaking debut thriller set on a Native American reservation and hailed by CJ Box as "a hell of a debut"
"Winter Counts is both a propulsive crime novel and a wonderfully informative book." —Louise Erdrich
Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s own nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.
They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost.
Winter Counts is a tour-de-force of crime fiction, a bracingly honest look at a long-ignored part of American life, and a twisting, turning story that’s as deeply rendered as it is thrilling.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s debut thriller introduces us to an awesome new antihero. Virgil Wounded Horse, a member of the Lakota Nation, lives on a South Dakota reservation and grinds out a living as a small-time enforcer, stepping in when local authorities ignore violent crime on the rez. When Virgil’s latest case tracking a local drug dealer gets personal, he must seek help from figures on both sides of the law—none of whom he can really trust. We were instant fans of the tough but scrupulously ethical Virgil, who is well aware that he’s neither a good guy nor a bad guy. First Nations narrator Darrell Dennis has a perfect handle on the character, adding a touch of grit to the unofficial lawman’s voice. In fact, Dennis brings just as much personality to all of the audiobook’s characters—we particularly loved the sarcasm he uses to voice Virgil’s teenage nephew, Nathan. This engaging listen paints a vivid portrait of contemporary Lakota life, with all the pride and struggle that come with it. That striking local color makes Winter Counts—and its slam-bang climax—hit even harder.