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The Thunder Keeper (2002)

The Thunder Keeper (2002)

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3.93 of 5 Votes: 3
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0425185788 (ISBN13: 9780425185780)

About book The Thunder Keeper (2002)

Lawyer Vicky Holden, a member of the Arapaho Tribe, is on her way to meet a man who tells her he knows something that could have critical impact on the Tribe when she sees him run down on a downtown Denver street. The police think it’s a random hit and run, but she can’t let go of it.Several hundred miles away, Father John O'Malley of the Saint Francis Mission on the Wind River Reservation hears of the alleged suicide of a young Arapaho while on a spiritual journey. He thinks this is ridiculous – people on spiritual quests do not kill themselves, particularly in such a sacred location. A stranger’s confession to the Jesuit priest reveals the man’s death was, in fact, a murder, the first of many to come. He can’t break the seal of the confessional, but he still feels compelled to do what he can to save lives.The hit and run and the “suicide” may be cover-up murders instead and both Vicky and Father John must uncover what it is about the reservation that people are willing to kill for. This will be a little difficult, because they’re trying not to talk to each other. They have very strong feelings for each other, but each knows the relationship can never be more than what it is – friends. They are trying not to rely on each other quite so much. It’s too painful, but time and time again they are drawn together, in service of the Tribe.Vicky is an outsider in her own tribe, because she chose the untraditional path of leaving her children on the rez while she went off to law school, to make a better life for them. She is driven to help the tribe, even when it doesn’t want, or respect her help. Father O’Malley was assigned to the rez from Boston, sort of as a punishment, so he could “dry out”, but he came to love the land and its people. He, too, is driven to help the tribe, but has earned a place of respect over the years.I just can’t say enough good things about this series. The plots are always interesting – sometimes there’s a historical thread, sometimes it’s a current social issue – and the recurring themes – like Father John’s inability to keep an assistant, Vicky’s outsider status, and their chaste longing for each other – keep me coming back for more. This is no. 7 in the series – no. 19 is due out in a few short weeks. I am an advocate of reading series in order, as each book references the preceding one and knowing the backstory enriches the reading experience. However, I somehow missed this one and read it way out of order. It was still good.

A good solid mystery, and quite enjoyable and easy to follow despite the fact that I haven't read the other 6 volumes - always a plus. The cast includes the Jesuit Father John O'Malley (in Wyoming) and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden (in Denver), who wind up tackling the same mystery from different angles. Both have personal histories that are brought up periodically but not overdone, and credible reasons for pursuing the issues they're presented with. Nice dramatic endings for each plot line, too. Not exactly surprising, but definitely dramatic. Worth reading, and I might look up the earlier ones.

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Oy. If the last book's tack was "partner abuse," this one is "can you trust priests?" I've never been a big fan of the whole Sanctity of the Confessional in the first place but I have to admit it's a perfect Jesuitical jumping-off place for a mystery: someone confesses to a crime and promises more to come so what can a priest do to fulfill the vows he's taken? He can't tell the police what he heard, and he can't let the confessor (whom he--naturally--doesn't recognize) get away with committing more crimes....Meanwhile, his new assistant is ... problematic. Thank God Vicki has moved to Denver to keep herself away from temptation. Except, of course, she and Father O'Malley end up working on solving the same problem, working from two different ends of the story. She gets involved because a man who asked to meet her for lunch is killed in a hit-and-run accident right in front of her. Father O'Malley is trying to convince the FBI that no Indian would kill himself during a vision quest in a sacred area of the reservation. Oh, plus he's trying to stop his Unknown Confessor from doing any more killing. Eventually, they all these strands are woven together, with the exception of his problematic assistant who is completely unclear on the vows he took before becoming a priest. In one of the most telling exchanges in the series, and one of the most damning for the Catholic Church as a whole, he says to Father John: "I have no intention of leaving the priesthood. A priest forever, according to the Order of Melchizedek...I have a career, a reputation." He has no sense of honor, putting the Mission in the position of having sell property to pay off the woman he was "in love with."Good ending to this book. I sure hope these two people get their act together pretty soon. Vicki's moving back to the rez so things will be more complicated in the next book, I'm sure.

Reading outside my genre for this one. I enjoy a good crime/murder mystery, so this looked good. The author really did her research with the history and ways of the Indian tribes, and probably went overboard with the streets of Denver. A bit too much "then he turned left on Maple street" detail for my taste there.The plot was solid, but somewhat predictable. The characters were compelling but kind of shallow in some ways, though I liked the female lead a lot. The "Father John" character irritated me, but that might be my own issues with the whole "That which we hear in Confession is sacred and cannot be divulged" issue.If you like a good crime story, jump right in. It has some wonderful elements!
—Chris Jackson

#7 in the Wind River series featuring Fr John O'Malley, pastor of St Francis mission on the Arapaho Wind River Reservation, and Vicky Holden, Indian lawyer.Wind River series - Fr John O'Malley is told in the confessional that the death of an Indian on a spirit quest was murder and other deaths will follow. He must find a way to reverse the official verdict of suicide without breaking confidentiality. Vicky Holden gets involved in the hit and run death of a mining company executive who had knowledge affecting the reservation.

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