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Publisher's Summary

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 21st 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. 

©2020 David Heska Wanbli Weiden (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Winter Counts

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very disappointed

I waffled in writing this because I do try to follow the rule of saying something nice, or nothing at all. Then I realized that this doesn’t just apply to the writer, but also his editor.

Editor....what were you thinking?!?! Some of the dialogue in this book really needs a clean-up. So much is very 1990’s gangster/cop show. And if you’re going to work so hard to be accurate with Native American/Indian/Indigenous People practices, you should really try and follow that same path throughout the book. Either no research was done to insure accuracy in the description of law enforcement policy/practice or it was simply ignored. The same goes for the gang culture. I felt like a lot of work was done on part of the book, and then the rest was just thrown together from B-movies and anecdotes.

The narrator was ok, but nothing to brag about.

Can’t recommend this one. The good parts are REALLY good, but they don’t over come the bad.

102 people found this helpful

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Wanted to like this

The description of this novel seemed right up my alley; a noir tinged mystery which takes place on a reservation. Having just finished the great novel “The only good Indian” I thought that I was in for a treat. Boy was I mistaken.

The characters are completely uninteresting and spend much of their time Talking about their exploits in high school and even elementary school. My guess is the novelist if not very young is extremely immature as his characters have no interests or life experience Beyond that of a shallow 20-year-old.

And the plot is ridiculous. The police, drug dealers and gang members all seem out of the fever dream of a 13-year-old amped up on YA novels. Save your credit and avoid this audiobook.

61 people found this helpful

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Good Narration; Middling Story; Guessable Plot

The narration in WINTER COUNTS (Audible) is very good. The story is middling at best. To call this a “thriller” is charitable, because all of the plot developments are totally guessable, with no surprises.

The main character (Virgil, the thug with a heart of gold) is shallowly drawn. All of the characters (mostly Lakotas who dwell on the Rosebud reservation) would be equally at home in a novel that is set in an ordinary small town in the U.S.

The prose is adequate, but nothing to savor. The details about reservation life and tribal/federal law ring true, but there aren’t a whole lot of them. The book has little to offer besides the story, which doesn’t really justify the hours invested in listening to an audible book.

31 people found this helpful

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Not a Thriller

I have been waiting to read this book for a while. I purchased it as an audible book. I don’t like the narrator but so far the story itself is OK. I’m learning a lot about native Americans. I wouldn’t label it a thriller so much as a what if. It was interesting. Not as good as I expected.


RECOMMENDATION: READ IT.

17 people found this helpful

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A Lot of Fun

Great story, fast paced, great setting. We listened to this while truck driving, and while we are fans of Longmire, C.J. Box and David Baldacci, this new author is every bit as thrilling, with fascinating characters and a very satisfying story. We're new fans!

17 people found this helpful

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A Mighty Powerful Debut

Once I saw the book cover, I knew I had to have it. David Heska Wanbli Weiden wrote a heck of a debut. I went into it only with the knowledge he was a Lakota author. I didn't peek at any reviews aside from Tommy Orange's blurb.

Simply put, he blew me away. I craved more. The action was just as strong as the social commentary, just as strong as the heart found within his prose. This Lakota author deserves your readership. Can't wait to see what he has in store for us soon.

I will give this book a re-read in 2021, no doubt about it.

15 people found this helpful

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dull read

struggle to finish this one period it was very obvious and didn't leave for much surprises

14 people found this helpful

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Addicting

I listened to this book for a book club, and I finished it in about two days although it was supposed to be a buddy read and done in five sections. I got so hooked I couldn't stop listening. Cannot recommend this book enough.

13 people found this helpful

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Who's the Bad guy?

The story takes place on the Red Bud Reservation in South Dakota, but the protagonist spends time in Denver and Rapid City as he hunts for the bad guys selling drugs to his nephew and other locals on the reservation. A good mystery with a surprise ending.

12 people found this helpful

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fantastic!

One of the best books I've listened to! I will definitely check out other books by this author.

6 people found this helpful