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Winter Counts: A Novel
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HarperCollins 2020
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Description

ANTHONY AWARD WINNER FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

THRILLER AWARD WINNER FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

EDGAR AWARD NOMINEE FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

"Winter Counts is a marvel. It's a thriller with a beating heart and jagged teeth." —Tommy Orange, author of There There

A Best Book of 2020: NPR * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal * CrimeReads * Goodreads * Sun Sentinel * SheReads * MysteryPeople

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.

Winner, Spur Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and Best First Novel * Winner, Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel * Shortlisted, Best First Novel, Bouchercon Anthony Awards * Shortlisted, Best First Novel, International Thriller Writers * Shortlisted, Dashiell Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing, International Association of Crime Writers * Longlisted, VCU Cabell First Novel Award * Shortlisted, Barry Award for Best First Novel * Shortlisted, Reading the West Award * Shortlisted, Colorado Book Award (Thriller)

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Format:
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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. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

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

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

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

MLA Citation (style guide)

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

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. 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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Date Added:
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        David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Nation, is the author of Winter Counts, which won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and the Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He received the PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship and is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from MacDowell, Sewanee, and Tin House. He lives in Denver with his family.

      • name: David Heska Wanbli Weiden
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Winter Counts
fullDescription

ANTHONY AWARD WINNER FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

THRILLER AWARD WINNER FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

EDGAR AWARD NOMINEE FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

"Winter Counts is a marvel. It's a thriller with a beating heart and jagged teeth." —Tommy Orange, author of There There

A Best Book of 2020: NPR * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal * CrimeReads * Goodreads * Sun Sentinel * SheReads * MysteryPeople

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.

Winner, Spur Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and Best First Novel * Winner, Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel * Shortlisted, Best First Novel, Bouchercon Anthony Awards * Shortlisted, Best First Novel, International Thriller Writers * Shortlisted, Dashiell Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing, International Association of Crime Writers * Longlisted, VCU Cabell First Novel Award * Shortlisted, Barry Award for Best First Novel * Shortlisted, Reading the West Award * Shortlisted, Colorado Book Award (Thriller)

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice
      • content:

        "Sizzling. . . . In the grand tradition of trouble-seeking, down-at-the-heels private eyes with strong moral codes, Virgil must confront many obstacles at once. . . . Weiden is from a branch of the Lakota tribe himself, and his book relies on deep research into its history and traditions. Winter Counts is written with a light touch and a good deal of humor." — New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

        "Wholly satisfying, the novel builds to a violent, action-packed denouement, leaving space for a sequel...."Winter Counts" is a riveting yet soulful reimagining of hard-boiled crime fiction for an era in which systemic rot seems to be routinely uncovered." — San Francisco Chronicle

        "Winter Counts is a once-in-a-generation thriller, an unforgettable debut set in and around South Dakota's Rosebud Indian Reservation that brims with complex characters, believable conflicts and an urgent message about Native culture, inequities and criminal justice. . . . Propulsive." — ?Los Angeles Times

        "Winter Counts is a compelling read and an insightful perspective on identity and power in America." — USA Today

        "You'll love the tough-guy hero who refuses to back down to anyone." — Parade

        "In his assured debut novel, David Heska Wanbli Weiden melds the gritty realism of Dashiell Hammett with the lyricism of Tommy Orange." — O, the Oprah Magazine

        "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

        "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." — Louise Erdrich, author of The Night Watchman

        "Timely and smart, this is a powerful narrative about identity and heritage in a shifting world." — NPR.org

        "Weiden's debut is a gritty, complex, and dynamic thriller... It's an absolutely riveting page-turner, compelling not only for the mystery at its core, but also for its piercing criticism of US (mis)treatment of Native populations." — Buzzfeed

        "You can zip through 'Winter Counts' for the fast-paced thrills or the chance to learn about native culture, but slow down to enjoy the beauty of Weiden's writing." — Washington Post

        "Weiden combines funny, complex, and unforgettable characters with strong, poetic prose. . . This is crime fiction at its best." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

        "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." — Shondaland

        "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." — Minneapolis Star...

      • 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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shortDescription

ANTHONY AWARD WINNER FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

THRILLER AWARD WINNER FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

EDGAR AWARD NOMINEE FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

"Winter Counts is a marvel. It's a thriller with a beating heart and jagged teeth." —Tommy Orange, author of There There

A Best Book of 2020: NPR * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal * CrimeReads * Goodreads * Sun Sentinel * SheReads * MysteryPeople

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...

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