Virgil Wounded Horse straddles two worlds. The vigilante-style hired muscle is half white and half Lakota, and he stopped believing in Native rituals and ceremonies when they failed to save his dad from cancer years ago. But now, as the threat of heroin creeps closer to the reservation and his loved ones, he finds himself reclaiming his identity. Virgil and an unlikely ally, his ex-girlfriend Marie Short Bear, set out to get to the bottom of the drug supply infiltrating their community.
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David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation, knows the setting of his 2020 novel: he spent summers on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota when he was growing up. Winter Counts is crime fiction at its core, wrapped in tendrils of reservation politics, family relations, and personal reckoning with identity. It was a 2021 Edgar Award nominee for Best First Novel and won a 2021 Anthony Award. —Laura Zornosa
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