This review is published on Reedsy/Discovery.
“Native Fate” is book number 10 in the Zeb Hanks series. The book begins with Zeb and Echo on their honeymoon in Paris while back home, in Graham County, the sitting sheriff has met his demise. Bizarre circumstances of Sheriff Black Bear’s death are revealed one strange fact at a time. Throughout the book, Zeb Hanks, along with his bride and inner circle, become embroiled in a series of events that range from enlightenment to danger as the characters struggle to distinguish truth from deceit.
This is a mystery wrapped around a theme of the strong beliefs and ancient rituals inbred in the Native American community. It is written in the third person, which works well as the reader is introduced to stories within stories. The underlying theme of deep friendship is clear from the closeness and longevity of male bonding between Jimmy Song Bird and Jake Dablo, and between Doc Yackley and Dr. Nitis Zata. The author keeps the momentum going as clues to solve the murder engender more questions with still more mysterious answers. The inner stories of relationships between friends and within families add a dimension to the book that makes the reader root for the good guys’ success and grieve for their losses. The story ends with loose ends tied up, almost a little too neatly, but does not delve deeply into the driver of greed that transforms people into monsters. I did find a few typos but no inconsistencies within the story itself.
Shappa is the archenemy of both Zeb and Echo. The mystique surrounding Shappa, which is revealed at the end, extends beyond reality, which would make it difficult for some readers to relate. Additionally, I noticed several redundancies throughout the book. For example, Helen’s relationship to Zeb was clearly stated early in the book. Yet later on, she is introduced again as, “Helen Nazelrod, Zeb’s aunt and his mother’s sister.” I am not sure why the relationship was repeated in this manner. It was as though the author thought perhaps the reader had forgotten the character.
Overall, I enjoyed the layers of mysteries, interesting set of characters and subplots. I would recommend it to fans of mysteries and especially to those who belong to a lineage of ancient rituals and mythology.