The Raven’s Daughter by Peggy A. Wheeler (Dragon Moon Press, February 2016) is a wonderfully well-written first novel. Maggie Tall Bear Sloan, half-Irish and half-Native American, is a retired big-city detective and profiler who has made her share of bad mistakes. She’s always too close to the action to see the forest for the trees. Plus, Maggie’s taste in men is atrocious. How could anyone as smart as Maggie act so dumb?
Maggie has spent most of her life favoring her father’s Gaelic ancestry over her mother’s American Indian. Maggie listens to Irish music, drinks in an Irish pub, studies Gaelic, and hangs around with white folk. She rarely sees her twin brother, Danny Tall Bear Sloan, who celebrates his Native-American heritage. If not for Flower and Bird, her twin grand-nieces, Maggie would have nothing to do with that side of the family.
When twin children are abducted, murdered, their hearts cut out, and ritually buried near Maggie’s A-frame home in rural Wicklow, California, Wild River County Sheriff Jake Lubbock asks Maggie to come out of retirement to help catch the serial killer. At first, Maggie refuses. But Jake is persistent. When Maggie thinks her nieces will become the killer’s next target, she agrees to help solve the case.
Although The Raven’s Daughter isn’t perfect (it is, after all, a first novel), it is a page-turner that’s hard to put down. The twist at the end is something I didn’t see coming because of all the red-herrings. Maggie’s character is multi-layered and full of angst. But there are a handful of typos that an editor or the author should correct, and a few loose ends that could have been avoided. I do hope the author will write a sequel that will explain the supernatural elements in more detail.
I loved reading The Raven’s Daughter. I think you will love it, too.