It seems like I compare books to food a lot lately so this one reminds me of casserole where it tastes pretty good but there’s just some ingredient in it you just can’t place and would have been fine without and maybe the whole thing is slightly underseasoned.
The Shaman Sings was James D. Doss’ debut novel and I think that shows pretty clearly. There are a lot of elements in the story. There is the mystical Ute woman, the Keystone cop deputies, the illegal immigrant, the visions, the dreams, the drug dealing professor, the beautiful and ambitious reporter, the angsty chief of police, the English cryptographer hermit, the victim’s rodeo cowboy boyfriend…you get the idea. Lots going on. And because there is so much going on some of the lines just get buried.
I enjoyed the book and it kept my attention but some of the characters and storylines could have been used much more effectively. The romance storyline was particularly rushed. I felt there was a lot of story in the author’s brain that he left out of the book.
The mystery was well-done with several red herrings along the way. There were points of humor which I appreciate. The characters felt like real people to me. I think the flaws in the story come strictly from this being the first in a series for a new author. I will be reading the rest of the series because I’ve heard from others that it gets better and better.