Old grudges, tribal traditions, and outside influences collide for a Kiowa woman as forces threaten her family, her tribe, and the land of her ancestors, in this own-voices debut perfect for fans of Winter Counts.
No one called her Mud in Silicon Valley. There, she was Mae, a high-powered professional who had left her Kiowa roots behind a decade ago. But a cryptic voice message from her grandfather, James Sawpole, telling her to come home sounds so wrong that she catches the next plane to Oklahoma. She never expected to be plunged into a web of theft, betrayal, and murder.
Mud discovers a tribe in disarray. Fracking is damaging their ancestral lands, Kiowa families are being forced to sell off their artifacts, and frackers have threatened to kill her grandfather over his water rights. When Mud and her cousin Denny discover her grandfather missing, accused of stealing the valuable Jefferson Peace medal from the tribe museum—and stumble across a body in his work room—Mud has no choice but to search for answers.
Mud sets out into the Wildlife Refuge, determined to clear her grandfather's name and identify the killer. But Mud has no idea that she's about to embark on a vision quest that will involve deceit, greed, and a charging buffalo—or that a murderer is on her trail.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A Native American woman reckons with the community she left behind in D. M. Rowell’s stunning debut mystery. Mae Sawpole is busy running her slick Silicon Valley PR agency when she gets a worrying message from her grandfather, a Kiowa storyteller living on a reservation in Oklahoma. Mae flies home for the first time in years to find Grandpa missing and a dead man in his workroom, throwing her into a crime investigation. Rowell—who comes from a long line of Kiowa storytellers—spins a dark plot that touches on fracking, criminal fraud, and the black-market trade of Native artifacts. In addition to thrilling suspense, Never Name the Dead gives us a fascinating look into the spiritual practices of the Kiowa people and the everyday realities of life on the reservation. From greed to murder to communicating with buffalo, this novel is a knockout.