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Winter Counts: A Novel
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Ecco 2020
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Description

SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDGAR AWARD FOR FIRST NOVEL

"Winter Counts is a marvel. It's a thriller with a beating heart and jagged teeth. This book is a brilliant meditation on power and violence, and a testament to just how much a crime novel can achieve. Weiden is a powerful new voice. I couldn't put it down." —Tommy Orange, author of There There

A Recommended Read from:USA Today * TIME * The Washington Post * Buzzfeed * Electric Literature * Lit Hub * Shondaland * Publishers Weekly * Crimereads * Salon * PopSugar * NPR

A groundbreaking thriller about a vigilante on a Native American reservation who embarks on a dangerous mission to track down the source of a heroin influx.

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 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.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/25/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062968968
ASIN:
B081ZJP3JG
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APA Citation (style guide)

David Heska Wanbli Weiden. (2020). Winter Counts: A Novel. Ecco.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

David Heska Wanbli Weiden. 2020. Winter Counts: A Novel. Ecco.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Winter Counts: A Novel. Ecco, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

David Heska Wanbli Weiden. Winter Counts: A Novel. Ecco, 2020. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        David Heska Wanbli Weiden is an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Nation and received his MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. He's a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Tin House Scholar, and the recipient of the PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship. A lawyer and professor, he lives in Denver, Colorado, with his family.

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shortDescription

SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDGAR AWARD FOR FIRST NOVEL

"Winter Counts is a marvel. It's a thriller with a beating heart and jagged teeth. This book is a brilliant meditation on power and violence, and a testament to just how much a crime novel can achieve. Weiden is a powerful new voice. I couldn't put it down."
—Tommy Orange, author of There There

A Recommended Read from:
USA Today * TIME * The Washington Post * Buzzfeed * Electric Literature * Lit Hub * Shondaland * Publishers Weekly * Crimereads * Salon * PopSugar * NPR

A groundbreaking thriller about a vigilante on a Native American reservation who embarks on a dangerous mission to track down the source of a heroin influx.

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...

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title
Winter Counts
fullDescription

SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDGAR AWARD FOR FIRST NOVEL

"Winter Counts is a marvel. It's a thriller with a beating heart and jagged teeth. This book is a brilliant meditation on power and violence, and a testament to just how much a crime novel can achieve. Weiden is a powerful new voice. I couldn't put it down."
—Tommy Orange, author of There There

A Recommended Read from:
USA Today * TIME * The Washington Post * Buzzfeed * Electric Literature * Lit Hub * Shondaland * Publishers Weekly * Crimereads * Salon * PopSugar * NPR

A groundbreaking thriller about a vigilante on a Native American reservation who embarks on a dangerous mission to track down the source of a heroin influx.

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 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.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Tommy Orange, author of There There
      • content: "In his assured debut novel, David Heska Wanbli Weiden melds the gritty realism of Dashiell Hammett with the lyricism of Tommy Orange."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times
      • content: "Winter Counts is a marvel. It's a thriller with a beating heart and jagged teeth. This book is a brilliant meditation on power and violence, and a testament to just how much a crime novel can achieve. Weiden is a powerful new voice. I couldn't put it down."
      • premium: False
      • source: David Treuer, author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee
      • content: "Winter Counts is both a propulsive crime novel and a wonderfully informative book. David Heska Wanbli Weiden has written the first of what I hope is a series of books about life on Rosebud Reservation. Virgil Wounded Horse, his nephew Nathan, and Marie Short Bear are more than characters; they brim with intrigue and authentic life."
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content: "You'll love the tough-guy hero who refuses to back down to anyone."
      • premium: False
      • source: AARP Magazine
      • content: "Weiden combines funny, complex, and unforgettable characters with strong, poetic prose. . . This is crime fiction at its best."
      • premium: False
      • source: Brandon Hobson, National Book Award Finalist and author of Where the Dead Sit Talking
      • content: "In addition to being a fast-paced and gripping ride, this book also examines Indigenous identity and the broken justice system. It's a great read even if you're not usually into crime fiction."
      • premium: False
      • source: Benjamin Percy, author of Suicide Woods and Red Moon
      • content: "A tale of drugs and violence on the Rosebud Reservation is also a celebration of reviving Lakota traditions. . . A knowing, revealing look at life on a reservation. . . The spirit, joy, pride and resilience of Native people also comes through these pages: respect for elders, the hunger for education and meaningful work, a growing interest in Lakota language, customs and traditions."
      • premium: False
      • source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
      • content: "[A] gripping, gritty, literary crime novel...a remarkably accomplished debut."
      • premium: False
      • source: C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Long Range
      • content: "[A] revelatory debut crime novel propelled by vital and affecting Native American characters . . . Suspenseful, gritty, gruffly endearing, and resonant."
      • premium: False
      • source: Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries
      • content: "I've been waiting most of my life for this book without realizing it. Winter Counts is a knowing, authentic, closely observed novel about modern-day Lakotas that rings absolutely true, warts and all. The sense of place is breathtaking and raw. It's a hell of a debut."
      • premium: False
      • source: O, the Oprah Magazine
      • content: "One part gritty procedural, one part hard-edged literature, Winter Counts is more than a novel—it's a testament in napalm you won't be able to put down because it burns and holds fast."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly (starred review)
      • content: "The full-throttle, can't-put-it-downness of this novel is a fact. Winter Counts is a hell of a gripping debut, perfectly plotted; David Heska Wanbli Weiden is a major new voice in crime fiction, indigenous fiction, and American literature."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of November Road and The Long and Faraway Gone
      • content: "David Heska Wanbli Weiden's Winter Counts marks the rise of a powerful new Native American voice in fiction, one that possesses an unnameable quality. With brilliant and precise prose, Weiden has created a deeply moving, heartfelt crime novel through Virgil Wounded Horse and his experiences of Native life. An astonishing debut novel."
      • premium: False
      • source: San Francisco Chronicle
      • content: "Winter Counts is a gripping, richly textured thriller and an urgent dispatch from Indian Country. Weiden writes with impressive authority and insight in this entirely original, enlightening, cliché-destroying novel."
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice
      • content: "Weiden announces himself as a formidable new voice in crime fiction. The images haunt, the action crackles, and...
      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        May 1, 2020
        Virgil Wounded Horse wants to do right by his Lakota reservation, but is vigilante violence really the way? He's been earning a meager living as an enforcer, taking charge when the legally shackled tribal police can't act and the feds won't. He's also raising his 14-year-old nephew, Nathan. Virgil was bullied for his mixed- blood heritage, and so is Nathan. Enter wealthy tribal councilman Ben Short Bear, who was none too fond of Virgil while he was seeing his daughter, Marie, but who now wants Virgil to take care of a guy Ben says is dealing heroin. Virgil is skeptical, but then Nathan nearly dies from an overdose, and Marie reenters his life. Weiden's cantering, engrossing, and culturally revelatory debut crime novel is propelled by vital and affecting Native American characters facing the endless repercussions of the genocidal past, ongoing racism and injustice, and cruel betrayals within their besieged community. Suspenseful, gritty, gruffly endearing, and resonant, Weiden's thriller, with its illumination of Lakota spiritual traditions and hopes raised for Virgil's evolution from thug to sleuth, launches a promising and meaningful series.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from June 29, 2020
        Virgil Wounded Horse, the half Lakota, half white narrator of Weiden’s gorgeous debut, serves as a fists-for-hire enforcer on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation. Ever since Virgil’s sister died in a car accident three years earlier, her son, Nathan, has been living with him. Back when Virgil was an alcoholic, his erratic behavior drove away the love of his life, Marie Short Bear, but now he’s sober, and after Nathan ends up in the hospital from an overdose of heroin, Marie returns to help Virgil take on the bad guys responsible for bringing heroin to the reservation. To complicate matters, Marie faces a decision about medical school in New Mexico, right as she and Virgil are falling back in love. The novel twists delicately around various personal conflicts while artfully addressing issues related to the politics of the reservation. Weiden combines funny, complex, and unforgettable characters with strong, poetic prose (“This was the winter of my sorrow, one I had tried to elude but which had come for me with a terrible cruelty”). This is crime fiction at its best. Agent: Michelle Brower, Aevitas Creative Management.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 1, 2020
        When his troubled 14-year-old nephew, Nathan, is endangered by a new heroin operation on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, hired muscle Virgil Wounded Horse must rely on more than his fists to save him. Narrator Virgil, a member of the Lakota Nations, is a vigilante-style bruiser whom victims and their families turn to when, thanks to an indifferent federal justice system and a toothless tribal court, sexual assaults and other violent crimes aren't prosecuted. Falsely busted after pills are planted in his school locker, forced to make drug buys while wearing a wire and then mishandled by agents, Nathan is the latest victim of systemic malfeasance. Virgil, his nephew's guardian since the rap-loving boy's mother (Virgil's sister) was killed in a car accident, finds himself in way over his head with the bad guys. His unlikely ally is his combative ex-girlfriend, Marie Short Bear, an ardent believer in the Native rituals for which he has no use: "I didn't do ceremonies." She's also the daughter of a shady councilman running for tribal president. Like its protagonist, the novel is rough around the edges. Key characters have a way of fading from view, and things get talky just when the action is picking up. And at one point, Weiden makes rather odd use of cartoonlike action words including "BANG!" and "Missed!" Weiden is at his best allowing Native culture to curl naturally around the mystery plot. A ceremonial scene in which Virgil has a harrowing vision of being present at the massacre at Wounded Knee is a bit heavy-handed but affecting nonetheless. A solid if inconsistent crime novel.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2020

        DEBUT A Native American vigilante-for-hire takes his most personal assignment in this debut. When the American justice system fails, a distressingly common occurrence on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Virgil Wounded Horse is the guy you call to mete out punishment on his own terms--even if you're a tribal councilman looking to get heroin off your reservation. No sooner does Virgil begin to track down who's smuggling the drugs and eliminate the problem (with the help of ex-girlfriend Marie, the councilman's daughter), when he suddenly faces a more immediate problem: his nephew Nathan has been caught with enough prescription pills in his school locker that he could receive 30 years in prison. As he works to hunt down the drug dealers and prove Nathan's innocence, Virgil must reconcile his actions with his rogue nature and natural suspicion of working with a police force that hasn't had his tribe's interests at heart; while Marie pushes him to embrace the spiritual side of his Lakota heritage. VERDICT Weiden's series launch sheds much-needed light on the legal and societal barriers facing Native Americans while also delivering a suspenseful thriller that builds to a bloody climax. A worthy addition to the burgeoning canon of indigenous literature. [See Prepub Alert, 1/29/20.]--Michael Pucci, South Orange P.L., NJ

        Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2020

        The local enforcer on South Dakota's Rosebud Indian Reservation, Virgil Wounded Horse is there to deliver swift and scary punishment when the tribal council or the American legal system fails to do the job. Then heroin seeps into the rez, claiming his own nephew as a victim, and he's on it. But the new drug cartels prove far more powerful and pervasive than he thought, and he's got his own Native American identity to sort out. A cutting-edge debut with a 75,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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