Plano Reads: Winter Counts

For August’s meeting of the Mystery Book Club, we are reading Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden. Join us to discuss this book on Thursday, August 18 at 7pm both at Haggard Library and virtually through Zoom. To join us virtually, register here.

“Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop. They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost.”

Available formats: Print | eBook | eAudiobook

“History, betrayal and heartbreak are out front in this novel, but it’s also an action-packed tale bursting with criminals, pursuits, fights and standoffs. It’s sure to please the most seasoned thriller fans. Weiden applies all the standard crime novel tropes, but compelling characters and the reservation setting make everything fresh.” – Washington Post

“The novel twists delicately around various personal conflicts while artfully addressing issues related to the politics of the reservation. Weiden combines funny, complex, and unforgettable characters with strong, poetic prose.” – Publishers Weekly

“Weiden’s cantering, engrossing, and culturally revelatory debut crime novel is propelled by vital and affecting Native American characters facing the endless repercussions of the genocidal past, ongoing racism and injustice, and cruel betrayals within their besieged community. Suspenseful, gritty, gruffly endearing, and resonant, Weiden’s thriller, with its illumination of Lakota spiritual traditions and hopes raised for Virgil’s evolution from thug to sleuth, launches a promising and meaningful series.” – Booklist


“David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation, was named by the New York Times as one of “the most critically acclaimed young novelists working now.” His last name, Weiden, is pronounced “Why-den.” Heska Wanbli is pronounced “Heh-ska Wahn-blee.” His nation, the Sicangu Lakota, is pronounced “See-chon-goo Lah-coat-ah.”

Weiden is the first Native American author to win an Anthony Award and the Thriller Award, and the second to be nominated for the Edgar Award. He has published nonfiction in the New York Times, Shenandoah, and other journals. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and has been selected for Best American Mystery and Suspense Stories.

He is Professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and lives in Colorado with his family. He received his MFA in Creative

Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, his law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. “- From author’s website


Read-alikes available through our library catalog and Overdrive:

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