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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

The Red Power Murders / Thomas King

The Red Power Murders - Thomas King

Thumps DreadfulWater has never liked surprises—even the good ones are annoying. So it’s no shock that a string of seemingly random occurrences is causing Thumps some real discomfort. First Noah Ridge, the Red Power Native activist, arrives in Thumps’ sleepy town of Chinook. Then the body of a retired FBI agent turns up at the local Holiday Inn. In the background hovers the ghostly presence of Lucy Kettle, second-in-charge of the Red Power movement, a tough woman in a tough place until her disappearance years ago. Now the sheriff wants Thumps to trade in his photography gig for a temporary cop beat. And it won’t be over, Thumps soon realizes, until everyone’s dead—or famous.

Hailed by critics in his first appearance, Cherokee ex-cop Thumps DreadfulWater is back in rumpled but razor-sharp form, doing his laconic, comic best to avoid trouble—and catch the bad guys. Bestselling writer Thomas King has penned a second entertaining DreadfulWater mystery, injected with the author’s characteristic dry wit and biting social commentary.


Thomas King is such a good writer! I’m loving these murder mysteries of his, starring Thumps DreadfulWater. We get both a good, convoluted mystery and a dose of King’s irreverent humour. Plus, he manages to tackle social issues that he cares about without getting preachy and without info dumps. For example, the reader just gets to witness the behaviour of the bigoted white deputy of the little village of Chinook and draw their own conclusions. 

I’m particularly fond of the elder Moses, who has a whole collection of old trailers out behind his house and many old computers too. With his younger associate, Stick, they often go out to check the internet, or as Moses puts it, consult with the Nephews. No matter when Thumps arrives, the elder is always expecting him, tea brewed and ready to consult. I’m also partial to Cooley Small Elk, the huge man who may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but who can knock down the shed to find what he’s looking for. King writes the best side characters!

King sticks with many aspects of the murder mystery recipe. Poor old Thumps is perpetually unlucky in love, has difficulty getting along with the sheriff, and always seems to be close to broke. But he has a cop’s mind and instincts and can’t seem to disengage once a problem presents itself. 

I can hardly wait to get my paws on book three. Thank you, Mr. King, for a great deal of reading pleasure!