Sinister Graves

Soho Crime. (A Cash Blackbear Mystery, Bk. 3). Oct. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781641293839. $27.95. M
In the 1970s, near the Minnesota–North Dakota border, the spring thaws flood the area. Sheriff Wheaton asks Cash Blackbear to help him identify a corpse when a young woman’s body floats into town. Wheaton suspects the deceased is from the White Earth Reservation, and Cash, an Ojibwe college student, is more likely to find answers than Wheaton is. When another body is discovered, Cash makes a connection to a small rural church where some of the Native women have been attracted to the handsome minister. She’s disturbed, though, by the graves of infants in the nearby cemetery, and the black shadow of a Jiibay, a ghost seen around death. With the help of an older woman who recognizes Cash’s gift—her ability to know things through her dreams—Cash confronts evil in a rural, isolated area where she has no backup, and people stay out of others’ business.
VERDICT There’s a bleak tone in this emotionally intense follow-up to Girl Gone Missing. Rendon, an enrolled member of White Earth Nation, skillfully handles sobering social issues of stolen children and isolated young adults who feel loss. Recommend to readers of David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s award-winning Winter Counts.
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