Lance Tallbear, a Native American deputy sheriff, investigates a startling 70-year-old cold case that someone still wants to remain buried.
Wow! I’ve been hooked on mysteries featuring Native American investigators since the first time I read one of Tony Hillerman’s Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee books. L.D. Lauritzen’s debut Lance Tallbear mystery held the same magic for me. It is one of the most thrilling mystery tales I’ve read this year.
In Regardless of the Consequences, we are introduced to Lance Tallbear, a deputy sheriff in Gila County, Arizona: a rough and tumble sort when needs be but always with the goals of doing the right thing for THE PEOPLE and pursuing justice. He has an inner struggle with his desire to work in the white man’s world (the Sheriff’s Office) and wanting to please his elderly grandfather, Gray Eagle, who wants him to follow in his footsteps as the tribal shaman. After his father’s death, his white mother had taken him to live with her during the school year, returning him to his grandfather and the reservation for the long summer break. During those summers, Gray Eagle had trained him extensively in the ways of the shaman. But when he grew up, he left that behind to go into the military and, later, law enforcement. Unfortunately, Gray Eagle viewed this as Lance turning his back on his heritage, as his father before him had done, and this is a continuing conflict between the two as well as in the young man’s heart.
Tallbear is not the only character in the story struggling in life; a couple of supporting characters are also walking a troubled path. Young Tommy Hawk immediately engaged me with his hopes and dreams for a better future. Also high on my list of favorites is FBI Special Agent Brad Hanley. He’s chasing his own demons, and I rooted for him to overcome them from the start, and I hope to see more of Irene Katz in his future. Officer Sally Yazzie, the captain’s assistant, presented such a “Radar O’Reilly” vibe that I hope she returns, too. The author gives us a plethora of bad guys to ‘boo .’ There were a few unresolved issues regarding them by the story’s end; I hope we can look forward to seeing them in sequels yet to come.
The plot is satisfyingly complex, involving a 70-year-old cold case, and it takes our heroes to some great locations on and off ‘the rez,’ including the Superstition Mountains, the Sonoran Desert, and downtown L.A. The non-stop action never allows the characters to take a breather, and the constant push forward and stress become a factor in the story. The characters battle their physical exhaustion, a harsh environment, and Mother Nature almost as much as the bad guys.
I can recommend Regardless of the Consequences for a variety of mystery readers such as those who enjoy books featuring a Native American sleuth as in Jean Hager’s Mitch Bushyhead or Molly Bearpaw books, the southwestern region of the United States such as in the Leaphorn & Chee series by Tony Hillerman, or set where the natural environment is a factor in the plight of the characters as in the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box or Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak books. Readers that like cold case mysteries or those with a tie to World War II secrets and the Nazis may also find Regardless of the Consequences to be right down their alley.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.
See my original review on Reedsy Discovery!