Sunday, April 8, 2012


A Tale of Two Crimes In the 21st Century: In the rugged ranch country of eastern Arizona, Graham County Deputy Branden Allred and San Carlos Tribal Police Officer Allen Victor are investigating the death of a young Apache. At first it appears to be a freak accident, a conclusion the Sheriff likes, but the officers begin to suspect murder. Motive is the major missing element, and nothing makes sense until a one-hundred-year old unsolved crime comes to light. In the 19th Century: Near the end of the 1800's in the same vicinity as the present-day murder, US Army Major Joseph W. Wham, Paymaster, and his twelve-soldier escort were ambushed and the payroll in gold and silver coins was taken. Though several men went to trial for the payroll robbery, they were found not guilty. The loot was never recovered and never surfaced. Though the treasure was sought for decades it eventually faded from public memory. In working the present-day case, the policemen must deal with politics, cultural differences, and limited resources. Two local ranchers, an environmental activist, and an unknown horseman become the primary murder suspects. In a backdrop of historic places, diverse geology, wide vistas, breathtaking scenery, Native American culture, and rural society, the mystery carries the flavor of both the old and new West.

The Wham Curse is Virgil Alexander's 1st published novel. I had a hard time putting it down once I started reading.
It is a fast moving police drama that takes place near the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Arizona. Virgil Alexander is very knowledgeable about that part of AZ and included information about the rivers and canyons, and Apache Culture, that was interesting, and helped me picture how some of the historical events happened.
The Wham Curse takes place in modern day Arizona. A young,  Apache boy, just called Boy, who has the mental age of about 7 dies under mysterious circumstances. Tribal Police officer Allen and local deputy Allred, soon discover evidence pointing to murder.
Throughout the book there are snippets of the story of the Wham payroll robbery, that took place in the same area.
I loved this book, it is a fast moving police drama, with a little romance. Deputy Allred works hard to improve relations between the Sheriff and pretty much everyone he deals with.  Boy's Grandmother is a glowing example of forgiveness and listening to the spirit.
I would recommend The Wham Curse by Virgil Alexander to everyone, especially if you like reading authors like J.A. Jance.
You can find The Wham Curse at in paperback and on Kindle.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Mary. I like the story myself, but have been anxious about whether others would enjoy it. Your review is a relief. -Virgil Alexander