I would like to recommend a book to you. Dave Walker is a writer, musician and poet. I found out about Dave’s book through a friend of his, Tom Isbell, who is also a writer and was at a book signing event with me at Uppercase Books in Snohomish. Dave served as the first psychologist at Yakama Indian Health Clinic from 2000 to 2004 and has continued as a consultant to the Yakama Nation since then.
Here is a copy of the review I posted on Amazon and elsewhere.
I started reading Tessa’s Dance as research for my own suspense novel, Bend Me, Shape Me which has a main character who is half Yakama though she lives in Chicago. Since Dave Walker has spent so much time working with people from the Yakama Nation, I hoped his unique perspective would give me a realistic portrayal of life on the reservation. In this regard, I was not disappointed.
Not only does Tessa’s Dance paint a picture of the setting and culture, he also breathes life into the characters and makes you care about what is happening to them. I was not expecting a mystery-like plot element when I started reading but since that is my usual genre preference, I was happy to find one in this book. Gangs and gun-running add a suspense element that worked really well as a side dish to this feast for the brain.
The real story, though, was Tessa’s struggle to overcome not only her past, but the baggage of an abused culture passed down from one generation to the next. The relationship between Tessa and Dr. Ret Barlow grows naturally and is cathartic for them both. I would love to read more about both of them and think there is a potential for Ret, at least, to tell us more about his experiences in western Washington.
The only reason I did not give Tessa’s Dance five stars is because the Kindle version, at least, had several editing and format errors like those often found in self-published books. There were not enough of them to detract from my enjoyment or appreciation for the story, but as a writer who also does freelance editing, I found myself wishing at times I’d had a chance to do a thorough proofread before the book went live.