Margaret Coel delivers with another spell-binding story of Native American history set in modern times with her latest Wind River Mystery, “Killing Custer.” Lander, CO is celebrating the start of the rodeo season with a parade that features a General George Armstrong Custer impersonator leading the 7th Cavalry. The cavalry is followed by Arapaho warriors lead by a descendant of Crazy Horse. During the parade, the warriors execute a “dare ride”, an old tradition in which warriors circle the enemy to show contempt and superiority. In the confusion, Custer is fatally shot and history is believed to have repeated itself.
Father John O’Malley is on the scene and immediately realizes that the Arapaho warriors were sure to be accused of revenge and the murder of the Custer impersonator. As the story unfolds, Father John supports and defends the Arapaho while trying to find the truth behind the killing.
Attorney Vicky Holden has spent her legal career trying to help her people, but this time Vicky is unable to defend her people because she’s already representing a client who, both professionally and personally, compromises her. Conflicted and feeling guilty for not being able to help, Vicky continues to work for her client while looking for answers that are connected to the murder.
In their search for the truth, Father John and Vicky come together to solve the murder and uncover a conspiracy that could end their lives.
Coel’s characters are well developed, her descriptions, vivid and clear. The plot keeps the story moving quickly and there’s a twist at the end readers may not see coming. As usual, Coel’s dialogue is crisp and authentic and her experience as a historian and expert on Arapaho Indians shows. Five stars to “Killing Custer,” which can be read as standalone or a series.