cover image Looking for Smoke

Looking for Smoke

K.A. Cobell. Heartdrum, $19.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06331-867-0

Not seen for months, Blackfeet teen Rayanne “Charging at Night” Arnoux seems to be another missing Indigenous girl amid a series of disappeared teens gone uninvestigated. Rayanne leaves behind her Blackfeet Reservation peer group, including her young sister Loren “Different Black Bird,” Eli First Kill, Samantha White Tail, Brody Clark, and Mara Racette (who is of white and Blackfeet ancestry). But when Samantha is murdered during a celebration, and the group are the last to see her, they each become suspects. The teens soon realize, however, that there’s something worse than being under suspicion; as the case progresses, connections to Rayanne’s disappearance become apparent, prompting fear that Samantha’s death will become another instance of unsolved crimes against Indigenous girls. Her killer must be apprehended, even if it means they’re forced to solve the case themselves, and even if it means condemning one of their own. Via four alternating POVs informed by the intricacies of reservation life, Cobell highlights the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis and delivers a gut-punch of an ending in this timely debut thriller that is by turns spine-tingling and emotionally raw. Ages 13–up. Agent: Peter Knapp, Park & Fine Literary. (June)