Winter Counts – David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Trigger warning for violence, substance abuse, death of a parent.

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.

My Thoughts:
In this book, we follow Virgil Wounded Horse who gets hired by the community to enforce his own force of justice when the FBI refuses to take part in investigations. When Nathan, Virgils nephew, gets caught up in the drugs that have made it onto the reservation, Virgil knows he has to do something.

This was a really fast-paced book that I really enjoyed. I hated it when I had to put it down!
I really liked Virgil as a character because you could see why he hadn’t taken part in any of the traditions. There was a lot of pain in his past, but as the book went on, he learns how important those traditions really are. There is so much growth in his character.

I really liked Marie and Nathan as well. I liked how Marie was just there for Virgil and helped out with his investigation and she knew when Virgil needed time on his own. I liked that they were able to support each other and be there for each other when they needed it.

Nathan, for me, was a typical teenager, not interested in adults and wanted to be left alone, but also you could tell that he was suffering but because he is a teenager had a tough time expressing it.

Overall I really loved this book.

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