Book Review: The Valley Walker #HmongPeople #VietnamWar #Magic #Thrillers

Teri Altro is a no-nonsense Special Investigator whose whole life revolves around putting drug dealers behind bars.  The Valley Walker is a soldier who walked away from the Vietnam war, wandering aimlessly until he is taken in by a Hmong woman in Laos.  The meeting in a Michigan drugstore between Teri and the Valley Walker is otherworldly and begins a story that will keep you entranced.

Wow. This is an intriguing combination of crime/thriller,  Hmong folklore/mysticism, and the devastation and trauma experienced by soldiers during the Vietnam war.  It is so much more than a typical crime story.  Hmong shamans, a former soldier with unbelievable abilities, and a mystical “dragon” are interwoven with flashbacks to the Vietnam war, as well as the fight against the drug lords in Asia and the U.S. This book is about battling back against the powerful,  who use whoever and take whatever they want.   Underneath it all, the devastation that the Vietnam War wrought upon so many people is made evident. As T.W. Dittmer puts it so matter-of-factly in this novel, “No matter which side wins a war, the soldiers and their families always lose.” 

I enjoyed the “story within a story” of Bao and her rescue, which shows Hmong mythology and tradition, as well as the fight against evil. 

The Valley Walker is filled with powerful mysticism, intrigue, love, pain, and loss. It is a lesson in Hmong folkore and legends.  It is an absolute adventure ride that slips between reality and myth, normal and paranormal.  But most of all, it is a fight of good against evil, and a story of those willing to sacrifice and fight for others.  Throughout this novel, a mantra is often repeated, once which I think the author, a Vietnam Vet, knows well…”Two salt tablets, a canteen of water, and push on.”

Read this book.  It’s so good on so many levels.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

T. W. Dittmer’s full name is Timothy Watson Dittmer.

He was raised in Gary, Indiana, the son of a steelworker who turned to preaching the Gospel. After high school, he joined the Army, volunteered for service in Vietnam, then reenlisted for service in Vietnam. When his time with the Army was over, he studied music, digital electronics, and information technology.

He started writing music and poetry in high school, and has carried the love of those arts through his life.

He now lives quietly with his wife in Michigan.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Book Review: Crickets

Kara returns to her hometown after her father’s unexpected death from a heart attack. She is there to get his affairs in order and sell the house. She has not been back since she was raped at a party ten years ago. She believes the rapist is Dalton Rolenfeld, who is from a prominent family and is now running for political office. Haunted by traumatic memories, she leans on her best friend Brent for support. Detective Kim Ellis has transferred to the town of Paige and has to work with an old boys’ club in the Police Department that is heavily influenced by the wealthy local family, the Rolenfelds. Despite objections from other detectives who don’t want to rock the boat and upset the prominent family, Kim begins to try and find out who assaulted Kara that night ten years ago.

This is a compelling and captivating psychological thriller. The villain of this story is well written and the mind games that they perpetrate and will keep you turning the page. The foreshadowing and subtle hints woven into the story are excellent. The mystery is well thought out, and we follow Detective Ellis as she tries to piece it together. This story is told from multiple viewpoints, and each chapter is titled with the name of the person who is speaking. One of the viewpoints is that of the villain, and I found this a valuable and fascinating addition to the book. The typical prejudices, favoritisms, and rumors of a small town are very much existent in the town of Paige. The reader is kept in suspense throughout the book, and the ending is surprising and satisfying. This combination of trauma, deception, manipulation, and the quest for justice is a compelling read and will keep the reader in suspense.

I received a free copy of this book from Bleau Press. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Chappel enjoys writing suspense and psychological mysteries but still can’t handle the surprises in Scooby Doo.

Lee’s writing patterns are dependent on the whims of a rare green scream chicken, pictured here.

They’d both love to connect with you. Say hello on Goodreads or email lee@leechappel.com.

LINKS TO BUY

AMAZON

AMAZON UK

BARNES AND NOBLE

REVIEW OF CRICKETS ON INSTAGRAM

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SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY: Great Books Available on Kindle Unlimited

Five children are abducted during a daycare outing. Three and a half years later, four of them are returned. Only Ivy, the granddaughter of homicide detective Kate Wakeland, is still missing and presumed dead. Not allowed to join the investigation, Kate is unofficially following the case while working on a separate murder investigation. 

This is the first in a series about 64 year old Detective Kate Wakeland, and I can’t wait to read the next book. There are twists and turns and a completely unexpected ending. I read this through in a day because I could not put it down. It grabs your interest, your imagination, and your heart. If you love murder mysteries, stories about family conflict, and stories with strong female characters, you will enjoy this book. Anni Taylor has done an amazing job with this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley. My review is voluntary. Now the book is available on Kindle Unlimited at no extra charge for KU members. It’s the first of the Tallman’s Valley Detective Series, and Book 2 is also on Kindle Unlimited. It’s an amazing value for KU members, and a chance to read two books from a talented writer for free. Book 3 is due out in September 2021.

Link to Book 1 on Amazon

Link to Book 2 on Amazon

Link to Preorder Book 3 on Amazon