• Selena | Beauty's Library

Winter Counts Review

Updated: Apr 14

This book wasn’t for me... I just wasn’t hooked by the summary. But I decided to give it a try and read it anyway, I’d seen some reviews that people enjoyed it. It turns out I didn’t.


Rating: 3/5

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.

This book wasn’t for me. I took a chance on it because it was a Book of the Month pick. That month, for September this seemed to be the best pick and I still wasn’t that interested. I really only got it to get the additional add-ons that month. I just wasn’t hooked by the summary. But I decided to give it a try and read it anyway, I’d seen some reviews that people enjoyed it. It turns out I didn’t.


I just wasn’t hooked by the summary. But I decided to give it a try and read it anyway, I’d seen some reviews that people enjoyed it. It turns out I didn’t.

The premise is we follow a local enforcer, Virgil on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, who is hired to deliver punishments to people who are deemed not worth the effort to pursue by the legal system or tribal council. Virgil is asked to help discover and take down the ring leader of a new heroin ring that’s started coming into the reserve. Initially, Virgil refused the job until his nephew get’s involved, now it’s no longer just a job it’s personal.


I found it slow-paced and I didn’t agree with all the events that took place. I felt like the storyline was constantly shifting and I didn’t understand where it was going. And I found the main characters hard to like. About halfway through the book, it felt like we veer away from the main storyline, leaving me confused as we follow this complex side plot that eventually comes to an abrupt halt based on one of the main character’s ethical choices on the matter. Then, we bounce back to the main storyline acting like the side plot didn’t happen until the end of the book. This side plot made the story hard to follow and it didn’t flow as well as other books do.


I found it slow-paced and I didn’t agree with all the events that took place. I felt like the storyline was constantly shifting and I didn’t understand where it was going.

Besides the storyline, it was fun to learn about this culture. I don’t know a whole lot about the Native American culture or their rituals and ceremonies. We get a glimpse of it in this book. It really painted a picture. I did have to look up some of the terms they used in this book. Some of them when they were mentioned were explained or described immediately. Others weren’t, a few I was able to figure out their meanings based on what else was said, but not knowing definitely hindered the flow of the story. I did have to look up quite a few of the terms to better understand what I was reading.


Overall, this book wasn’t for me. Though I know for certain there will be others who will enjoy this one. So ignore my rating, if you find the premise intriguing, enjoy thrillers, or find the Native American culture interesting, then I suggest you should try this one! I hope you enjoy it!