A Town Called Why
by Rick Lenz
Chromodroid Press

"Most people, even those who can bear almost everything else, have very little tolerance for humiliation. Humiliation is across-the-board rejection."

In this contemporary thriller, all sorts of strange things are happening to the inhabitants of a small Arizona town. There’s mayhem, murder, and mysticism galore, along with heavy doses of classical psychoanalysis sprinkled liberally with Native American lore. The result is a rip-roaring read for those who like slam-bang physical as well as insightfully intellectual literature.

Gaines is a detective who appears stalwart on the outside but is actually conflicted on the inside with fear that he’s not as courageous as he should be. He’s also half Apache and in therapy with Sunny, the town’s resident psychoanalyst, whose professional training occasionally conflicts with her inbred mystical powers. She’s full Apache and has visions. They’re dealing with the pitfalls of patient-therapist transference while juggling all sorts of other problems mainly brought about by Flint, a local businessman who’s in the process of cheating the Native Americans out of their lands while simultaneously sexually abusing a number of the town’s occasionally compliant females—the ones whose self-worth is already dangerously damaged. Before the narrative ends, Flint’s violence escalates to full-throated bedlam, and Gaines and Sunny are only a couple of the townsfolk caught up in it.

Author Lenz is a gifted writer, adept at both action and suspense as well as emotional introspection. His supporting characters and their backstories (many not mentioned here) are highly compelling in their own right. The author also does an exceptional job of bringing in a relevant historical perspective as it relates to the government's abhorrent treatment of the people who populated this land long before it was ever thought of as America. Though too frequently overused, this is a novel that actually earns that dog-eared cliché of being a book you won’t want to put down.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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