This mystery was so well done. Not only is there a satisfying mystery (heroin to a N. Dakota/Lakota reservation) but a well developed sense of place. The reader can picture and feel the landscape on and off the reservation. Virgil is a flawed man, but tries to be better and is the guardian to his nephew. Within the plot, as Virgil goes on about his life, the picture of life and details emerge. It's a slow build but well worth it. And, interspersed throughout, are biases against the indigenous and within the indigenous community. If you are a fan of Jane Harper or Tana French, you will love this as well.— Audrey H.
September 2020 Indie Next List
“Weiden’s book is a thriller with an important social and political message. Following a Lakota ‘enforcer’ who enacts extrajudicial punishment to fill the gaps in the legal system, Winter Counts is a twisty new addition to the growing Indigenous literature canon. While some of the action may fall into somewhat predictable territory, Weiden’s exploration of the injustices of reservation life are vital.”
— Ashley Baeckmann, Briars & Brambles Books, Windham, NY
An addictive and groundbreaking debut thriller set on a Native American reservation and hailed by CJ Box as a hell of a debut Winter Counts is both a propulsive crime novel and a wonderfully informative book. --Louise Erdrich
Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that's hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil's own nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.
They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost.
Winter Counts is a tour-de-force of crime fiction, a bracingly honest look at a long-ignored part of American life, and a twisting, turning story that's as deeply rendered as it is thrilling.