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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
In Native Blood by Leonard Krishtalka, a biological anthropologist investigating indigenous genetics is killed and the blame lands on the chancellor's Athabascan Native son, an archaeology student engaged in protesting early American genomic probes. Harry Przewalski, a private eye, is sucked into an intricate network of field flaws as the focal point becomes a vanished flint spearhead, its implications challenging established notions of America's original settlers. Conflicts between anthropology, genetics, and Native American roots are revealed, as are historical ties between anthropology, racism, and the oppression of indigenous cultures. Native Blood is the fourth book in the Harry Przewalski crime series, preceded by The Bone Field, Death Spoke, and The Camel Driver.
"The lesson of anthropology is the death of theory... Deadly serious. I mean that literally." And Leonard Krishtalka certainly does in his exceptionally crafted thriller Native Blood. There are several things that Krishtalka does right to make this novel an engrossing read, and most of them come down to the main character, Harry Przewalski. Harry is incredibly well-developed and imperfect enough to be believable. Krishtalka backs Harry up with witty dialogue and some decently heavy background baggage and then has him reference detective novels and find himself followed by someone who may or may not have a minivan. I love the visual imagery, from crime scenes to an office the size of a prairie outhouse. Against the wit there also deeply troubling themes that arise. Here we are confronted with the brutality of our past, its clash with our present, and violence against First Americans and, in the case of the dead, the persistent assault on women. Overall, this is a fantastically written and immersive read. Very highly recommended.