Heart of the Storm

Lindsay McKenna
2007, Romantic Suspense
HQN, $6.99, 379 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373772254

Grade: C+
Sensuality: Warm

Lindsay McKenna’s latest work centers on a Cherokee tribe in the Sierra Nevadas, and a ceremonial pipe - the Storm Pipe. The Storm Pipe is incredibly powerful, and can be harnessed for deadly purposes. When the pipe is stolen, the main characters come together for the sole purpose of retrieving it before it is used to harm again. The book is so incredibly focused on this aspect that it left the characters only superficially developed, and their supposed journey to love only passably interesting.

Dana was to inherit the Storm Pipe from her mother. But Rogan Fast Horse murdered her mother, the guardian of the pipe, and somehow used it to kill the vice president of the United States. Dana, having fled the reservation to mourn the death of her mother, is called upon to retrieve the pipe. She has just a few weeks to train in order to confront Rogan. Former Delta Force soldier - and psychic - Chase Iron Hand is brought in to prepare her to fight Rogan, and get the pipe back.

What I liked most about the book was the complete focus on Native American culture, including main characters who are both Native American. They are not just Indians by birth, they are completely committed to maintaining and sustaining their way of life, including their complex traditions. The Storm Pipe is an important part of this tradition, and Dana and Chase are intensely committed to ensuring its return. Ms. McKenna is clearly knowledgeable about Native American culture, and uses this knowledge to expose the reader to a culture most, including this reviewer, know little about.

However, this book suffered from a few major issues, the most prominent of which was the complete lack of any development of character development for its leads. As I read this book, I found myself asking many questions about Dana and Chase, questions that never were answered or were addressed in such a superficial manner that I was never convinced that they were in love.

I applaud Ms. McKenna’s foray into this subject area. Not very many authors come across as knowledgeable and credible as she does in this novel. However, I do read these books for the romance, the process of two people falling in love, their trials, tribulations, and ultimately their redemption. The author does a poor job writing a balanced story. There is plenty of suspense, and very little romance. While I can give this book a grudging recommendation for its wonderful depiction of Indian culture, I would get it from the library.

-- Keisha Hudson

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