Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits (Book II)
When Charlie Littlewolf and Sara Reynolds discover why her husband, Bryan, was murdered, their lives change forever. While Charlie swore to avenge his white brother’s death, the path to do so remains unclear. Meanwhile, his job with Lone Star Operations provides the opportunity to use his college education and earn a generous income.
However, it conflicts with everything he knows to be right. Is violating the Earth wrong or not? Little does he realize that his work will ultimately return him to his people on the Northern Cheyenne reservation where his true destiny will manifest in ways he never imagined.
Meanwhile, Sara is determined to fulfill Bryan’s last request to expose the government corruption as well as the lethal forces that took his life. Releasing the scandalous Top Secret data via WikiLeaks infuriates those with much to lose, who place a high price on her demise. Her response gets a bit too personal, subsequent efforts to silence her forever closer to home than she realizes.
While miles apart, each struggles with life-threatening situations inspired by their dedication to Bryan’s legacy. Their lives remain entangled through a series of everyday decisions and circumstances that define a future wrought with unknowns for them both.
Firebird Book Award
Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits won in two categories, 1st place in Multi-cultural fiction, and 3rd place in Cross-genre fiction.
Per Speak Up Talk Radio’s press release, “Authors and publishers from around the world submitted their work to the Firebird Book Awards. Two judges from a select panel of 23 judges read each book in its entirety and independently scored each entry. All judges commit to a set of standardized criteria that evaluates the quality of the writing as well as production aspects. Only entries with the highest of scores were awarded the coveted Firebird.”
It’s tricky to submit a sequel to a contest when there is a backstory that comprises an entire book, but this one clearly held its own! As always, the authors are grateful to have their work acknowledged by this prestigious award.
Pinnacle Book Achievement Award
Each year, for the past 40 years, NABE,
now known as the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs, recognizes some of the finest books published by their members by presenting them with a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits is the Summer 2022 winner in the Cross-cultural Novel category. Its predecessor, The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits was recognized by NABE the previous year.
Book Excellence Award Finalist
Also like its predecessor, Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits, was chosen as a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards. If you’ve ever been disappointed by a sequel, in this case that is not something to worry about. You’ll find more suspense than ever with a self-contained plot, even though it continues the story begun in the first book with more to follow in book three!
Five Star Review from Readers’ Favorite
Reviewed by Asher Syed
Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits by Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun is a conspiracy suspense novel and the second book in the Dead Horse Canyon Saga, preceded by the series’ critically acclaimed and award-winning first book, The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits.
Two characters drive this saga, a widow named Sara Reynolds whose husband Bryan was murdered, and she very nearly along with him, after discovering corruption at a massive scale; and Charlie Littlewolf, Bryan’s dearest friend, whose connection to the history of the land, his Cheyenne roots and the spirits that reside in both is far deeper than believed.
The mission to avenge Bryan’s murder and get the truth about the government’s project out to the public is the driving force behind all of Sara’s actions, no matter how dangerous they are. Charlie shares in this but is also confronted with a battle of conscience, memories, physical and emotional trauma, and the wise words of family, both now and in the past, to reconcile who he has become and who he is meant to be. “Until you have seen death, you cannot comprehend life. Experience provides the path to understanding which leads to wisdom.”
I went into Return to Dead Horse Canyon not having read the first book and while it does read comfortably as a stand-alone, after just a couple of chapters I actually went back to read The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon before restarting book two. It was an excellent decision. The building of the Cheyenne history is critical to the story and had I not understood Sara’s complete motivation and Charlie’s fully fleshed-out roots, I’d have missed out on so much more than just a good read.
Sara’s plight is noble and even as she is met with roadblocks at every turn, she is not dissuaded. The peril she faces is amplified and pushed to maximum pacing when she pulls a Snowden-esque rabbit from her hard drive. However, it’s Charlie that is most compelling to me.
My gosh, the depth of ethnology packed into both novels is meticulously researched and beautifully detailed. There are moments of lessons hard learned and realized, a standout being a conversation at his grandfather’s deathbed and another is when Charlie is finally able to harness a previously dormant and profoundly spiritual faculty. Co-authors Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun are a dream team with this saga and I’m really looking forward to the third and final installment of their trilogy.
Finalist 2022 Page Turner Awards
“The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” won a Book Award from this competition in 2021 and its sequel is following in its footsteps. Thousands of books were submitted so it’s a great honor to be chosen as a finalist. You can see all the finalists on the Page Turner Award website.
This is the first stage of judging with a Long List and Short List to follow before the final winners are announced. If its status advances it will be updated here.
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Electronic: ISBN 978-1-7334186-3-8
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Print: ISBN 978-1-7334186-2-1