This mashup of buddy road trip and indigenous horror genres features a supernatural odd couple—a blonde preacher with seemingly endless lives and a seductive brunette who morphs into a panther—solving a 150-year-old mystery.
An eternally-young white man, Tom was a teenager in the 1870s, taken in by the Navajo and mentored by Red Deer after unspecified events left Tom “suspended, abandoned in some mystical zone.” A sweathouse healing ceremony to help Tom went awry when Red Deer’s granddaughter Moon in Her Eyes prepared a too-strong potion influenced by “a hidden spirit.” Hallucinating, Tom saw his childhood sweetheart, but the illusion cloaked a witch, who kidnapped Moon in Her Eyes, taking her to a hidden kiva.
Meanwhile, in the present day, the seductive brunette—rough-at-the-edges Lovey—adapts to her “near death experience and mysterious reincarnation” after Tom saves her from an evil entity and his mutants. The previously middle-aged Lovey is now a young woman who, when angered, transforms into a feral feline.
Tom and Lovey travel to the Southwest to find Moon in Her Eyes— and as the story unfolds, Tom’s otherworldly presence awakens chilling entities in scenes slick with gory mayhem.
The author knows how to tell a story, and he writes authoritatively on tribal lore. Readers might be reminded of Tony Hillerman, albeit without Hillerman’s sophistication.
However, the narrative is unnecessarily repetitive, and author G.R. Jerry’s depiction of women feels sexist; readers will likely tire of reading about Lovey dressing in her sports bra and tight black shorts. The biggest problem, though, is that Jerry thrusts readers into the middle of the action at the beginning, causing confusion, then endlessly backtracks to explain things. So many characters are introduced that it’s hard to know who to pay attention to.
Possessing more passion than polish, Jerry’s tale — steeped in Navajo lore – graphically depicts the savagery of the white man’s western expansion. Often excessive, this macabre fever-dream is not for the squeamish.
Also available as an ebook.