I bring you a book I found in NetGalley thanks to BookGoSocial, and I had also read some intriguing reviews, so I had to check it out. It’s a peculiar mix of genres, but it works quite well.
Regardless of the Consequences by L.D. Lauritzen
Sheriff Lance Tallbear’s half-blood Apache heritage leaves him struggling to find his place in a world where neither white nor Indian wants or readily accepts him. He faces the world his shaman father turned away from and acknowledges the one his shaman grandfather prays he’ll return to.
Tallbear’s new case uncovers a mysterious plane wreck discovered in the Superstition Mountains that turns out to stir both his life decisions and ultimate direction. Along with his troubled FBI partner, Brad Hanley, they face a myriad of obstacles in their journey to the truth.
The skeletons at the site hold the clues to not only who the killers were but also why the people died. Tallbear quickly finds the crash site hides a deadly secret that reaches out of the distant past to threaten the lives of all who seek it. He will need to use all his skills and experience to discover the answers and stay alive.
About the author:
A retired agriculture teacher. L.D. Lauritzen has worked across the southwest. Working ranches in the Dakotas and Colorado. Construction all over the Southwest, docks, dealing cards, and even a stint as a beekeeper. Through his travels he’s met and worked with people in many walks of life. Through golf, coin-shooting, ghost-towning, and other activities, he brings life to his stories, characters, and plots.
“Along with my wife, I travel, take a lot of pictures, and been known to spin a tale or two. Somewhere along the way I decided to try writing. Not sure of what words I want to put to paper, I write a variety of short stories, westerns, mysteries, and science fantasy. I’m fascinated with life, and how we manage to still survive given our society’s penchant for destructive behavior.”
This novel, set in Arizona, combines elements from a number of genres: the western (the setting and some of the characters, especially sheriff Tallbear, his grandfather, Gray Eagle, a shaman who hopes his grandson will follow in his footsteps, although his deceased son didn’t, and Tom Hawk, a young Apache man who makes a gruesome and dangerous discovery); a thriller/mystery/cold-crime novel (the wreck of an old plane is found in the dessert, and there is a strong indication of foul play); a spy/historical novel (there are secrets affecting several families and going back to WWII, and an agent from the CIA, an Army General, and a Russian mercenary make an appearance), and even a little bit of romance thrown in.
There is plenty of action, more than a bit of violence, standard and not-so-standard investigating and police procedural methods, lies, betrayal, guilt, redemption, identity crises, prejudice, alienation, cultural tension, loyalty, sense of duty, revenge, challenging of conventions, and many more.
I really liked the sense of place, the descriptions of the locations, and some Apache traditions, which are very vivid and cinematic. There were a number of characters to root for (not only Tallbear, his grandfather, and Hawk, but also the flawed FBI agent, Henley, and Irene Katz, a resourceful, clever, and daring woman whose family was involved in the mystery) but there were so many strands to the story and so many players that it was difficult to get to know anybody in detail. Some of the most interesting aspects of these characters’ lives and thoughts were only touched upon, and, overall, the plot dominates the story, although, as it seems this is the first of a series, there will be room to develop more complex and rounded characters, as some of them have plenty of potential. And, there were plenty of baddies, some out-and-out villains, and others more nuanced and whose motivations are more ambivalent and even understandable, a good range that gives the story more depth and helps keep readers on their toes.
The story is narrated in the third person and in chronological order, but readers who don’t like too many changes in point of view might take issue with the many characters whose thoughts and experiences we get to share. This is, first and foremost, Tallbear’s story, but we often witness events in which he does not participate. That makes the story flow at a good pace and sometimes helps us be a step ahead of him (or at least believe we are), but there are some minor inconsistencies, the story at times becomes dispersed, and it can cause confusion if it is read over a protracted period of time and not enough attention is paid to the sequence of events. More attention to the narrative voice and the editing, in the future, might make things tighter and smooth the reading experience.
There is much to catch up and there are elements of the ending that felt a bit rushed, but I enjoyed it overall, and answers are provided to most of the questions, although, as can be the case in literary series, there are some unresolved issues that are likely to turn up again in the future.
This is a story I recommend for those who like mix-genre stories, love a modern Western setting, and are not looking for a cosy read or a deep psychological study of the characters. At the end of the book (around the 92% mark), there is a sample of the next novel in the series, that although it doesn’t appear to have been published yet, shows plenty of promise.
Thanks to NetGalley and to BooksGoSocial for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.
Thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to share with others who might enjoy the book, and keep smiling!