cover image Inagehi


Jack Cady. Broken Moon Press, $13.95 (258pp) ISBN 978-0-913089-50-7

There is little to recommend in Cady's slow yarn about a mountain defiled and the revenge it extracts on its owner. Trouble begins in Winston-Salem, N.C., in the 1950s when a 30-year-old Native American, Harriette Johnson, inherits 700 acres and ``dark knowledge'' about her father's murder. Though inagehi is a Cherokee term that means ``a person who lives alone in the wilderness,'' Hariette is joined in her newly claimed cabin by Johnny Whitcomb, who helps her unravel the mystery. Unfortunately, the mystery is as slack as an old guitar string, and by the time it's solved, readers are beyond caring. Cady, author of the well-received The Sons of Noah and Other Stories , inexplicably lets a minor character tell Harriette's story, thereby depriving it of real emotional logic and immediacy (her romance with Whitcomb, for example, is rendered as an afterthought). The result is a colorless heroine with a passion for playing music at odd moments. Cady's stiff, writerly descriptions don't help--``The walking stick flashed yellowly in the sun, descending, metrical, like a conductor's baton measuring the slow beat of a Bach chorale.'' And stilted dialogue is made more awkward by such editorial comments as: `` `Civilizations die for a number of reasons and one of those reasons was responsible for the destruction of the American Indian.' '' A (Joseph) Campbell soup mix of myth and legend that promises tension and doesn't deliver. (May)