Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter

There's been a lot of discussion about the advent of self-publishing in the last couple of years. I don't want to rehash the pros and cons; we all know that the book industry is changing rapidly, with a flood of writers striking out on their own. Many of them have little realistic hope of financial or critical success, but some are darned good storytellers who know their craft.

One such writer is Peter Bernhardt, who hails from Germany and now lives in the Southwestern US. His novels, The Stasi File and Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter feature East German ex-pat Rolf Keller and the opera singer Sylvia Mazzoni. Here's my Amazon review of Bernhardt's latest:

The second novel in a series featuring East German expatriate Rolf Keller and up-and-coming opera star Sylvia Mazzoni, Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter evokes memories of Tony HIllerman's novels. An old law school classmate named Slater shows up in Keller's life in Santa Fe in 1990, and the fellow is on the run from two thugs. The bad guys deal in Native American artifacts, which by law belong to the native tribes and can bring high prices on the black market. Rolf gets sucked in, even though Slater is not a friend. Meanwhile, Sylvia works hard to establish her professional chops as a soprano at the Santa Fe Opera. She's going to star in Tosca on short notice, but can her career survive the difficult stabbing scene of the final act?

A major plot thread, and this is what sets this mystery apart, takes place over three centuries earlier, in 1680, when local natives plan to stage an uprising against their Spanish oppressors. Readers may not immediately see how everything ties together, but it all does so quite effectively. Author Peter Bernhardt clearly shows off his love of music, the Southwest, and good yarns in this well-constructed, well-written mystery. This is one of the best indie novels I've read in a while.

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Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

That sounds like a really interesting story, Bob. The Southwest has fascinated me forever. I was surprised that Santa Fe has an opera--does it?


Bob Sanchez said...

Yes, it does. Their website is