DARK RESERVATIONS by John Fortunato reviewed

This photo provided by Minotaur Books shows the cover of the book, "Dark Reservations," by author John Fortunato. (Minotaur Books via AP)

This photo provided by Minotaur Books shows the cover of the book, “Dark Reservations,” by author John Fortunato. (Minotaur Books via AP)

John Fortunato
October 2015
Minotaur Books

Alcoholism and grief and bring Bureau of Indian Affairs agent, Joe Evers, disgrace during the sunset of his career when he mishandles murder evidence, costing a victim justice, and Joe his own dignity. To reclaim it, he promises the sister of a victim not to fail her, but discovers the cold case he’s just sworn to crack, the final investigation of his career, may be his demise. New information revives search for Congressman Arlen Edgerton, his suspected mistress, and their driver, when a bullet-riddled car is discovered stripped on Navajo land. Tribal members are uncooperative as Joe and his rookie assistant, Navajo native Agent Bluehorse, investigate the former Navajo Nation President, a cocaine-addicted artifacts collector, and freedom fighter natives hell-bent on sending a message. But Joe doesn’t realize the players aren’t what they seem. Nothing is.

In the tradition of Tony Hillerman, award-winning author John Fortunato develops a palpable sense of southwestern culture and creates vivid Navajo characters who set the page ablaze. Each character is written with a distinctive voice, crafted arc, and integral role to play in the plot’s unfolding while the author’s personal military and law enforcement experience is evident in the carefully orchestrated investigation scenes. Skimming this book is not an option, each sentence lays the groundwork for future action or delivers clues. Each character provides a lead. The ending is satisfying and leaves way for a series, a possibility that hopefully comes to fruition. Sharp, fast, and fearlessly unique, DARK RESERVATIONS is a non-stop thrill ride guaranteed to give Tony Hillerman fans a new author to cheer for.
Ava Black