I am moved to write this brief caution in reaction to the disappointment some reviewers express when my novels take an unexpected (to them) turn at the end. On my author page at Amazon, in my bio and description I have tried to make it clear that the evil Zack Tolliver and Eagle Feather encounter is often otherworldly; native cultural myth come to life. Yet some readers appear to have overlooked, forgotten, or not known this, judging from their apparent shock and dismay.
I do not, nor have I ever tried to write a Hillerman-like novel about Native Americans–there are more than enough authors competing for that role, including the man’s own daughter. I try to write down that which excites me, disturbs me, maybe even frightens me; the what-ifs that lurk just beyond all of our imaginings in a setting I have always loved, the American West. I feel for the reader who becomes engaged in my story expecting a reasonable, tidy wrap-up at the conclusion. Ain’t gonna happen.
I will say there are copious hints scattered along the way to raise Zack and Eagle Feather’s (and the reader’s) suspicions that they are in pursuit of more than your average bad guy. Zack-like, some readers dismiss these, as most of us do in ‘real’ life, expecting the thread of our lives to continue on as it has always done. But what if it doesn’t?
I was pleased and honored to receive a review (for The Other) from a reader who is Dine. Acceptance of the evil entity Zack and Eagle Feather managed to defeat (at least for now) was complicit in the enjoyment this reader expressed. No shocked surprise here – such things have been around as long as the culture itself.
I leave you with Zack’s own words to the Criminology classes of Hancock College in the opening chapters of Zaca as he attempts to explain this very thing:
“Our culture tends to limit the possible far more than other cultures. My friend and mentor (Eagle Feather) taught me to avoid such limitations. One you close your mind to anything, it ceases to exist for you. But for others, it may still be there.”