A vacation visit leads to a nasty murder case for FBI agent Manny Tanno.
Manny and his police officer friend Willie With Horn, of the Pine Ridge Reservation, are enjoying the Real Bird Little Big Horn Reenactment on the Crow Agency Reservation when one of the re-enactors is shot. Although it looks like an accident, someone has been caught on tape changing the blanks for real ammunition, making it a case for Manny. What first appears to be simple gets very complicated as the bodies pile up. Local auctioneer Harlan White Bird had been given the fabulous Beauchamp collection of Native American artifacts to sell. The most valuable item in the collection is the journal of Levi Star Dancer, a scout for Custer. Now, Harlan is dead, and the journal is missing, along with Harlan’s drinking buddy, Vietnam vet Sam Star Dancer. Sam’s sister Chenoa is not only a wealthy rancher, but a stunning woman whose image has been used in many Montana publicity campaigns. Chenoa’s husband, Cubby, may be a former rodeo star, but that evidently doesn’t keep Chenoa from an affair with Wilson Eagle Bull, a powerful Lakota with political ambitions. Another missing pal of Harlan’s and Sam’s who turns up dead is Itchy, a meth-addicted Crow. When yet another body is found in Sam’s burned-out house, Chenoa is more concerned with recovering the journal, which contains information potentially damaging to both her and Eagle Bull, than with the death of her alcoholic brother. Once Willie is shot while looking for the killer, Manny doesn’t care whose toes he steps on to uncover the truth.
The third action-packed case for Manny (Death Where the Bad Rocks Live, 2012, etc.) teems with historical interest, even if you’re not a re-enactor.