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Signal Peak (Medicine Valley Series) Paperback – November 15, 2013
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About the Author
''Tessa's Dance,' Volume I in the Medicine Valley Series, is the first of David Edward Walker's novels, and garnered a Bronze Medal from the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Multicultural/Young Adult Fiction. 'Signal Peak', Volume II in the series, was released in November, 2013, and initial reaction has been resoundingly positive. David grew up in the Detroit area, working as a cab driver, record store clerk, and order taker in a flavor factory. He earned a doctorate degree at University of Detroit in 1992 and is a licensed psychologist. In 2000, David moved with his family to central Washington to work with the Indian Health Service. He continues to consult with the 14 Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. A scholar, passionate speaker, and fierce critic of bio-centric mental health ideologies, his series of articles for Indian Country Today on mental health practice as an oppressive force have garnished much positive attention. David is also a poet and singer-songwriter. In the 1990s, he toured under the pseudonym 'David Folks,' releasing two CDs, 'Roadside Park' and 'Refusing to View', and garnering college airplay across the U.S.. He worked with the Dreamcatchers arts project to benefit Native American causes, and shared the stage with such luminaries as Rodney Crowell, Richie Havens, and Richard Shindell. His songs "draw his audience into a warm space of feeling and introspection, which he supports with elegant moral ambition," according to 'Music Hound Guide to Folk Music'. He released a third CD, the Bahá'i-inspired disc, 'Summoning the Possible, in 2010 under the pseudonym 'David Folks Walker.' David traces his 'mixed-blood' Missouri Cherokee heritage through Barlow, Gibson, and Alexander families. He currently lives with his family in the International District of Seattle. You can visit his external website at www.tessasdance.com.
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What struck me most about both books was how alive all of the characters seem. These are living and breathing human beings just like us. I found myself reacting from an emotional level as well as an intellectual one as I read the book. Many of the characters were old friends I had known before from Tessa’s Dance and some were characters that I had come to dislike intensely who managed to come on stage once again. There were also many new characters who soon blended beautifully with the old.
As I read the book, I tried to view it through the eyes of someone who had not read Tessa’s Dance and was struck by how masterfully Dave Walker brings the new reader up to speed with all of the characters as he sets the scene for what is a very new and exciting plot. He does this in a way that is a comfortable review for old readers and an informative introduction for those who are new.
One of the many benefits I derived from reading Signal Peak was the recognition of the universality of the human condition. Yes, the indigenous peoples of this country have been treated horribly since the arrival of the first Europeans on this continent. One can’t help but be struck by the dignity under fire that many of the characters radiate even though the odds are heavily stacked against them. They are desperately trying to hold on to or rediscover who they really are and shed the negative identity stereo-types that have been foisted upon them by those outside their community. It is also clear in reading both books that the fate of the indigenous peoples is very much tied in with our own.
For those who simply like a good story, this book delivers in spades. For those who think that things are proceeding at a modest pace initially, hold on to your seats because the speed, intensity, and complexity of the story accelerate at a break-neck speed right up to the end.
Thank you to Dave Walker for another fabulous book!
Character development and story continuity made me feel like I was right there in the middle of the excitement, and I could identify with one or more of the characters in various scenarios. The "real life" dialogue might be harsh for some readers, but is very necessary for the plot, and humor was used just at the right moments. I liked the attention to professional client confidentiality and how this element added a level of stress to the husband and wife relationship.
I hope David Walker will add another book to the series.
The book is very suspenseful. It also seems quite realistic in a number of ways.
The narrator is solid and integrous.
The depiction of bureaucratic entities seems spot on.
Touching on something as horror-ful and sorrowful as Hiawatha Insane Asylum for Indians in a novel is very smart. Aspects of history, where humanity hurts humanity, can be difficult to comprehend and maybe the secondary trauma effect is not as pronounced when addressing this sort of thing in a work of fiction; maybe it allows more clarity. Not only does this aspect of the novel (including the subplot with Fitzsimmons and the veteran uncle) bring this significant history to light, it educates the reader that such a thing existed, if they do not know. Also it is a reminder that society has quite a ways to go in leaving behind oppressive behaviors.
As a counselor and having some background in mental health, I personally appreciate the perspective of the narrator with regard to mental health practices.
Great book!!! (Looking forward to "Tessa's Dance" now.)