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3.0 out of 5 starsthe Doe needs to go!
Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2016
This is the second book in the series about Zak Hanks, a small town sheriff in the southwest. I read the first book and thought the plot was absolutely excellent so moved on to the second. The author needs to continue improving his character's dialogues. I was hoping the problem I had with the first book would resolve itself but it looks like that isn't going to happen. The primary (or only) restaurant in town is owned and run by Doreen (Doe) and I have seldom come across a more irritating character. The author mentioned he was pen pals with Tony Hillerman, an all time favorite of mine, and I'm sure if Tony were still with us, he'd advise the author to remove the ridiculously clownish Doe. Every time she opens her mouth I'm pulled out of the story and annoyed by her absurd vernacular. If she only made a couple appearances I could tolerate it, but she's a major character. If not for Doe, I'd move on to book 3.
Another good look into the beautiful state of Arizona and the fascinating world of the Apache Nation. The Apaches have some beautiful Creation stories and ceremonies. Their Apache Crown Dance is gorgeous. The dancers wear a black hood over their heads and a tall elaborately painted crown. How they manage to preform this very athletic dance with their head covered and wearing that heavy crown I'll never know but they make it look easy. Maybe Mr. Reps will write a story with this ceremony in it and let us in on they train for it. The characters were the same crazy loveable crew as in the previous books/ Zeb, Doreen, Jake and the rest of the gang, and let us not forget Jimmy Song Bird and the rest of the San Carlos Apache Nation. The writing was superb and the beautiful landscape of the Arizona desert was portrayed beautifully. Some of the twists and turns were unexpected but isn't that what we expect in a mystery thriller? The action took off on the first page and ever slowed down. Just an altogether enjoyable read from cover to cover.
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2013
This is the second in the series featuring sheriff Zeb Hanks in small town Safford, Arizona near the San Carlos Reservation. If one has read Native Blood, the first in the series, you will be happy to know that most of the characters have returned to play a major role in solving another murder...or two. Medicine man Jimmy Songbird, Deputy Kate Steel, former sheriff Jake Dablo and Eskadi Black Robes, tribal chairman of the San Carlos Reservation enrich the story with their expertise. The author seems to have done his research of Apache customs/beliefs/traditions and depicts them accurately. The characters are believable and are well liked or disliked.....depending upon their role.
The tale begins with the death of a Catholic priest sitting in a rocking chair in the middle of a highway late at night. The priest is hit by a fast moving truck whose driver did not see him in time to stop. The reader immediately knows why the priest is sitting in the dark on the roadway. The initial investigation points to suicide. Mounting evidence; however, seems to point toward homicide. Later another suspicious death initially thought to be suicide is ruled a homicide. Who is responsible for reducing the population of Safford? The fictitious story takes place around a real place, Mount Graham, Safford, Arizona. There seems to be some unscrupulous land deals involving the area. What do these dealings have to do with the mysterious deaths?
It is easy to figure out who the villain is early on; however, the reason for his despicable acts is not readily apparent. The book is interesting and grabs the reader's attention early on. The ending did seem a bit incomplete to me. I thought there should have been a bit more closure to the story.
The book was easy reading with quite a few interesting twists and turns. This new author shows writing talent and I look forward to reading the next book in this series. There is not an abundance of blood and gore, but enough violence to keep the reader turning pages to find out the why and wherefore. There is a smidge of romance, a bit of wit and humor and enough suspense to make the whole book a fun and worthwhile read.
Reading the second 'Zeb' book, "Holes in the Sky", reminded me of why I enjoy series books so much. The characters and setting are familiar, making it comfortable to ease in to the story.
In contrast to his role in "Native Blood", the first book of this series by Mark Reps, Zeb stood back a bit this time and let Kate (Zeb's deputy) and Jake Dablo (Zeb's predecessor as sheriff) show their strengths as the plot grew. This could be in part because Zeb's character and personality were developed well in the first book. Kate's contacts from the past were a great source of pieces of information that Kate was able to contribute to the puzzle of who killed the local priest and several others in the Safford, AZ/ San Carlos Apache Reservation area. And, Jake was able to share his lifetime of experience as a lawman once again.
Doreen, proprietor of the local cafe and Zeb's love interest, continues to be as colorful in personality and language as she was in "Native Blood". In this installment, Reps added further layers to Doreen's character as she questioned her Catholic faith.
I've enjoyed the Arizona setting and learning more about the culture of the San Carlos Apache Reservation, as well. Looking forward to the next novel in this series.