Wind River Reservation is a series of novels written by Margaret Coel, an American author. The books follow the adventures and challenges of a Jesuit Missionary Father by the names of John Aloysius O’Malley and an Arapaho Attorney known as Vicky Holden.
Order of Wind River Reservation Series
|1||The Eagle Catcher||1995|
|2||The Ghost Walker||1996|
|3||The Dream Stalker||1997|
|4||The Lost Bird||1999|
|5||The Spirit Woman||2000|
|6||The Thunder Keeper||2001|
|7||The Shadow Dancer||2002|
|9||Wife of Moon||2004|
|10||Eye of the Wolf||2005|
|11||The Drowning Man||2006|
|12||The Girl With Braided Hair||2007|
|13||The Silent Spirit||2009|
|14||The Spider's Web||2010|
|15||Buffalo Bill's Dead Now||2012|
|17||Night of the White Buffalo||2014|
|18||The Man Who Fell from the Sky||2015|
When Margaret wrote The Eagle Catcher, she did so with the belief that it was a standalone. She didn’t think that it would become the first book in a beloved series of novels, not until her agent came back to her with a three-book contract.
The book set Margaret on the path to becoming one of America’s best-loved mystery writers.
The Wind River Reservation series of novels is set on the Wind River Reservation, an area that covers three million acres in West Central Wyoming. Larger than many states, the Wind River reservation is a real location that Margaret Coel brings to life using elements of fiction.
In fact, a lot of the elements introduced in the Wind River Reservation series, though fictional in nature and crafted from Margaret’s imagination, have a basis in reality, particularly the Arapahos who are real.
The stories the author tells about them are based on real crimes and injustices that Margaret stumbles upon during her research. She has admitted to mining newspapers in order to get a better understanding of the day to day goings on of the peoples around which her mysteries revolve. This allows her to craft tales that capture the essence of the Arapahos as well as those criminal occurrences they are familiar with.
Margaret has also been known to delve into historical crimes that still impact present generations because they simply refuse to be forgotten. The landscape of the Wind River Reservation is stark with planes that roll on for miles.
While some of Margaret Coel’s characters perceive the beauty in the stark landscape, others think it lonely and isolating. O’Malley and Holden, the protagonists of the series, work together to solve murders in and around the reservation.
The first book not only introduced these two determined heroes but it also saw them meet in light of an investigation to ferret out the killer responsible for a tribal chairman’s death.
Holden is especially invested in the case because of her Arapaho roots and the journey she has chosen to undertake to understand her origins; O’Malley, on the other hand, is introduced as a recovering alcoholic.
Margaret Coel spends a notable portion of the series hinting at the attraction between O’Malley and Holden, though their romance is what might be described by some as a slow burn.
Best Wind River Reservation Books
If you are looking to get initiated into Margaret Coel’s world, these are some of the best books in the Wind River Reservations series:
The Spirit Woman: Attorney Vicky Holden is determined to find a longtime friend of hers that went missing. The college professor was looking into the legend of the native woman that supposedly guided the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Vicky, along with O’Malley, grows suspicious in light of the disappearance of another female historian who hasn’t been seen for twenty years.
Sacajawea’s hidden memoirs might hold the answers to the mystery.
This book sounds heavy at the start, especially taking into account the fact that it aims to tackle domestic violence. But it is actually quite a light read, a simple detective story that attempts to tackle a difficult issue with a light touch.
Winter’s Child: It has been five years since Myra and Eldon Little Shield found Mary Anne Little Shield on their doorstep as a baby. No one has ever come looking for her. However, Myra and Eldon cannot help but worry about social services taking their white child away now that she is old enough to go to school.
The couple soon seeks the assistance of Clint Hopkins, an attorney, in adopting Mary Anne. Vicky Holden, who is brought on as co-counsel on the case, cannot turn a blind eye when Hopkins is run down by a black truck.
With Father John’s help, Vicky tries to figure out who might want to stop the adoption.
This book is actually based on a real person in history. Margaret provides interesting insight into Arapaho history.
Other Book Series You May Like
The “Joe Pickett” Series by C.J. Box follows Joe Picket, a game warden in Wyoming who only ever tries to do the right thing in the many challenging situations he encounters.
The “Leaphorn and Chee” Series by Tony Hillerman. This series by Hillerman follows two Navajo tribal police officers working to solve crimes in the Southwest of the United States. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn’s story, which should have ended with the death of Tony Hillerman, was reinvigorated by his daughter Anne Hilleman who still writes the books.