"An insightful take on life in the Southwest." —Gene Hackman
Bureau of Indian Affairs special agent Joe Evers still mourns the death of his wife and, after a bungled investigation, faces a forced early retirement. What he needs is a new career, not another case. But when Congressman Arlen Edgerton's bullet-riddled Lincoln turns up on the Navajo reservation—twenty years after he disappeared during a corruption probe—Joe must resurrect his failing career to solve the mysterious cold case.
Joe partners with Navajo tribal officer Randall Bluehorse, his investigation antagonizes potential suspects, including a wealthy art collector, a former president of the Navajo Nation, a powerful U.S. senator, and Edgerton's widow, who is now the front-runner in the New Mexico governor's race. An unexpected romance further complicates both the investigation and Joe's troubled relationship with his daughter, forcing him to confront his emotional demons while on the trail of a ruthless killer.
Joe uncovers a murderous conspiracy that leads him from ancient Anasazi burial grounds on the Navajo Nation to backroom deals in Washington, D.C. Along the way, he delves into the dangerous world of black market trade in Native American artifacts. Can he unravel the mystery and bring the true criminal to justice, or will he become another silenced victim?
About the Author
JOHN FORTUNATO was a Captain in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence, who served at the Pentagon during the early part of the Global War on Terrorism. He is now a Special Agent with the FBI and has earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. A native of Philadelphia, he currently lives in Michigan with his wife and three daughters. Dark Reservations is his first novel.
"Politics, greed and Native American artifacts provide a sturdy foundation for the compelling debut.... It delivers a highly entertaining, multilayered plot steeped in the culture of the Southwest and laden with believable characters.... Dark Reservations starts what should be a long-running series." -Associated Press
"The novel, which won the Tony Hillerman Prize, takes its themes and setting from the Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee canon, but its characters are straight out of the tradition of hard-boiled police procedurals with flourishes of cowboy noir. Think: Harry Bosch, home on the rez." -Boston Globe
“A distinguished debut rooted in a southwestern landscape akin to late Tony Hillerman's books and populated with a similarly diverse cast of men and women. … The characters in this novel have an authenticity that leaps from the pages.”—Journal Sentinel
“Fortunato spins an intricate tale, overlaying multiple story lines with a galaxy of characters, some of whom have much to hide. Readers who relish mysteries against the backdrop of the Southwest and who are fans of Tony and Anne Hillerman will savor this page-turner.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“For those who like quirky crime novels starring offbeat protagonists (Matthew McBride's Frank Sinatra in a Blender, 2012), this one's a must.” —Booklist
"A fine debut from Fortunato, an FBI special agent who knows his way around police work. Plenty of red herrings, dark horses, and quirky characters hold your interest from beginning to end." -Kirkus
“Fortunato hooks the reader from the very first page with this twisty tale of murder and redemption. Reminiscent of Tony Hillerman, he uses the Southwest setting to maximum effect. I couldn't put it down!” —Victoria Thompson, bestselling author of Murder in Murray Hill
“So often we are taught to write what we know. John Fortunato knows law enforcement, the Southwest, and how to spin a great yarn. But put that all on the back burner. Read this book for the writing; the characters, the sentences, every morsel. Fortunato knows a lot, but what he knows best, and practices best, is writing.” —Thomas Lipinski, Shamus Award-winning author of Death in the Steel City
“Disgraced Bureau of Indian Affairs Agent Joe Evers' career is at a standstill as he awaits a forced retirement, until a break in a cold case jolts him from his lethargy. The action in Dark Reservations starts at a sprint and revs up to page-turning warp speed. Among the towering red-rock formations that inspired ancient cultures, John Fortunato sets a modern mix of crooked politics, dirty cops, Native activism, and the blood sport of artifacts dealing. With Dark Reservations, Fortunato shows himself a worthy practitioner of the Hillerman tradition.” —Gwen Florio, author of Montana
“John Fortunato's Dark Reservations is a terrific debut novel. It's intriguingly plotted, fast-paced, and has a full, unruly population of convincing people who have reasons to act up. And Fortunato's fights read the way real fights feel. Very highly recommended.” —Thomas Perry, author of A String of Beads
“I grew up on the Navajo Nation, and I was immediately impressed with the accurate portrayal of the culture and peoples that Fortunato brought into his mystery, both good and bad. For readers who like a hard-edged mystery, the authenticity of a police procedural, and the humanity that comes from a character-driven story, Dark Reservations should be placed at the top of your reading list.” —David Thurlo, co-author of the award winning Ella Clah Mysteries
“Dark Reservations is a novel of power, written with confidence by a veteran in the investigative field. He is also, by the way, an artist, using words as if they cost ten dollars apiece, achieving his effect in short order, with resonance after the fact. There is humanity here, along with a world-weary tolerance of weakness and temptation; and something of the clean pure wind-driven strength of the best frontier fiction; which is to say the best in the English language. Would I not know better, I'd suspect him of being the lovechild of Willa Cather and W. Somerset Maugham.” —Loren D. Estleman, author of The Sundown Speech
“Provocative and convincing.... The best mystery writing about Native American culture since Tony Hillerman. John Fortunato delivers compelling insight into the human condition, and a rare peek into the evil that men do as only an experienced FBI agent can.” —Patrick W. Picciarelli, author of Undercover Cop
“It isn't often a first novel comes along that is as sure-handed as John Fortunato's Dark Reservations. The prose is lean and sinewy, yet not so spare that an occasional startling image or a wonderfully distinctive metaphor doesn't shine through.” —Randall Silvis, author of On Night’s Shore and The Boy Who Shoots Crows