I finished the very powerful 185 page book by Joseph W. Shaw, To Honor the Dead. Beautifully written, tension building in each page of this homecoming, redemptive novel of small town friendships and prejudices. Having family from western Oklahoma, the descriptions of place were particularly accurate and poignant, pointing out what has been lost in small town America and what never changes.
I was surprised how good this novel is. Colter Wayne Tyree accidentally ends up back in the place he has left many years ago. Still carrying all the baggage of the past he finds old friends; new and old enemies. How he handles his ghosts and redeems himself is quite a tale. I can certainly relate to Colter’s examination of a life less lived, or at least one that cannot live up to youthful expectations or self examination. I suspect we all have some sort of homecoming whether we ever leave home or not.
Oliver Wendall Holmes Lonewolf, Cheyenne Vietnam Veteran, Coyote, and catalyst for many of the events is indispensible to the telling. Shaw uses the sad stories of lingering prejudices toward Native Americans, the difference between rich and poor; women as second class and the ignoring of evil in our midst to develop a truly stunning first novel.
Joseph Shaw was born and grew up in Western Oklahoma. He does us proud.
Since I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, I do have an issue with the ending, so if anyone wants to comment on what they thought, go ahead, I’d like to hear what you have to say.