Coyote's Song

A Native American Tales, Myths, and Legends Mystery

Fiction - Cultural
238 Pages
Reviewed on 11/20/2016
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Author Biography

Renee Benzaim was born in Wenatchee, Washington, but grew up in Northern California. She wrote her first short story when she was in the third grade and discovered her love of putting words on paper.

Her novels include the popular Detective Annie Avants crime fiction series, which is set in Kern County, California. Annie has become very popular with readers has been called the next "Nancy Drew". There are five books in this series (so far), and each book can be read independent of the others.

Another book is Coyote's Song, the story of a five-year-old Miwok Indian girl who disappears. Ten years later, a renowned writer sets out to solve the mystery of Evangeline's disappearance. This book is a prequel to Green Witch, Dead Witch.

In addition, Renee has written three non-fiction books: How to Make Compost; Salsa!; and Can Men Get Yeast Infections?

She and her husband live in a home with gardens surrounded by a stone wall. This small piece of paradise is the home of an ever-growing number of cats and one shaggy dog.

"I remember the first long story I ever wrote. I was in the third grade and my teacher, Miss Steere, asked us each to write a story about something in history. I chose to write about the Donner party and the tragedies that befell them as they tried to make it to the Wild West.

I had so much fun and made up stories about the travelers and conversations between the people on the wagon train. It didn't occur to me that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I wasn't even old enough to understand what it meant to be grown up.
I ended up with a career as a paralegal. It encompassed a lot of research and writing and, in the meantime, I had written short stories, poetry, and two unpublished novels.
Finally, I said "enough", quit everything, took early retirement and followed my dream. Now, I'm a writer and I love my life.. I have a lot of fun with my characters and stories. To me, they're real people and my joy is to share them with you and the rest of the world."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Coyote’s Song by Renee Benzaim connects two women from the past and the present through a Miwok legend. In 1989, five-year-old Evangeline disappeared from her front yard. Ten years later in 1999, Hannah Kelly is searching for a subject for her new novel. She investigates Evangeline’s case, but with little information and no one talking, she comes to a dead end. That is until she hires Tom and his brother, Bennie, who was the last one to see Evangeline. Through the brothers she finds all the answers she was looking for, including a few she never expected.

Coyote’s Song is a great dip into mythology! Brother Coyote is a real presence that guides the characters to where they need to be. Renee Benzaim has an interesting frame for the narrative. It opens with Evangeline’s story, but picks up in 1999 with Hannah, who is searching for clues about the missing girl. Various perspectives provide a piece of her disappearance until the answer is revealed at the end, but each character connects to the story as a whole. The tone for the story is one of hope. The legend tells of a girl destined to be the shaman who brings the Miwok people together. Hannah’s role in the story isn’t random. She’s more than a nosy writer wanting a good story. Overall, the story is fairly light, but there’s darkness underneath. Coyote’s Song has everything needed for a good trek into magical realism; engaging characters, normal everyday occurrences, and the faintest taste of something magical. A must-read!