Reviewer Ekta Garg: Ekta has actively written and edited since 2005 for publications like: The Portland Physician Scribe; the Portland Home Builders Association home show magazines; ABCDlady; and The Bollywood Ticket. With an MSJ in magazine publishing from Northwestern University Ekta also maintains The Write Edge- a professional blog for her writing. In addition to her writing and editing, Ekta maintains her position as a “domestic engineer”—housewife—and enjoys being a mother to two beautiful kids.
Author: Melinda Elmore
Publisher: Dancing With Bear Publishing
A detective and an FBI agent work together to find the killer of a young woman from their home town and in the process rediscover the love they once shared. Author Melinda Elmore uses the Native American Lakota tribe and their beliefs and traditions as the basis for her romance mystery novel, Blood on the Feather.
Archaeologist DeShay Graywater has commenced work on a dig site near Eagle Nest Canyon in South Dakota and is looking for artifacts to recount the history of her people, the Lakota. As she works she nearly stumbles on the body of a woman. DeShay contacts officials in the tribal police department, and Officer T.J. Hawke arrives on the scene and takes the case. Soon after he begins his investigation, Special Agent Melina Wolfe, FBI, joins Hawke, and sparks fly as the two feel once again the love they shared several years earlier before Melina abruptly left the reservation. The two law enforcement agents work through their relationship and the details of the murder investigation, confirming the body as that of a local girl who had disappeared some time ago. T.J. and Melina rely on one another and their culture to lead them to the murderer.
In promotional materials Blood on the Feather is described as a “romantic thriller,” but the emphasis in the story is squarely on the romance while the “thriller” or murder investigation fades into the background. Author Elmore has attempted to use her book as a tutorial on the Lakota culture, and unfortunately the book reads as such. Elmore’s transitions from fact to plot are rough, almost jarring, and the sections that describe the Lakota culture become mostly didactic with very little entertainment value.
Elmore’s balance of characters is anything but. The book opens with DeShay Graywater, the archaeologist who discovers the dead body, and the narrative leads readers to believe that DeShay will be a driving factor in the story. Instead she, too, becomes a part of the background, only appearing in full force about 30 pages before the end of the book. In those 30 pages Elmore manages to create a full-fledged love story for DeShay too, complete with marriage proposal.
The book also doesn’t offer much depth of plot. T.J. and Melina have many conversations about hoping to catch the killer, and at times when Elmore could have used the “show, don’t tell” device she resorts to her characters discussing their love for one another. As a result, readers often are told what might happen, what could happen, and in fact what does happen; even with such a rich heritage forming the base of her novel, Elmore misses the opportunity to show her readers the development of her story and characters.
Blood on the Feather needed a firm editor’s hand both for content and structure. This reviewer regretfully does not recommend this book for readers.
Click Here To Purchase Blood on the Feather