Going Through Ghosts

Mary Sojourner, Author . Univ. of Nevada $25 (281p) ISBN 978-0-87417-809-8

Sojourner’s suspenseful and finely observed second novel (after several story collections and works of nonfiction) reaches deeply into Native American lore as it pursues an unlikely friendship between two hard-luck women—one living, one dead. Maggie Foltz (aka Maggie May “for tips”) is a cocktail waitress with a heart of gold at the Crystal Casino in Creosote, Nev. At 54, Maggie is weary of falling for charismatic men and helps Sarah, a young transient, get a job at the casino. Sarah, who grew up in the small Willow tribe of Bone Lake, has fled man trouble of her own, and the two women become pals—all too briefly before Sarah is murdered. However, their friendship only intensifies from here on, as Sarah returns—with the help of the Willow healer Minnie Siyala—and guides Maggie back to Bone Lake to resolve spiritual issues. In punchy, alternating points of view, Sojourner introduces potential murderers and plenty of quirky customers as Maggie helps Sarah’s spirit transition to what comes next. Sojourner’s sympathy for her characters is palpable and gracious, making this a notable and worthy effort. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/11/2010
Release date: 02/01/2010
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