Sunday, April 10, 2016

REVIEW: The Raven's Daughter By Peggy A. Wheeler

The Raven’s Daughter
By- Peggy A. Wheeler
Genre- Fantasy, Adventure
Publication Date-February 29th

A Murdering Monster and a Myth Come to Life

After a police shootout where she killed a man, criminologist Maggie Tall Bear Sloan retires from the force to enjoy peace and quiet in rural California. When sets of young twins are murdered in her town, the local sheriff recruits her to solve the gruesome killings.

But to catch a killer, Maggie either accepts her true nature as a “pukkukwerek” —the shapeshifting monster killer of Yurok legend—or more children will die.

As the manhunt intensifies and her own family is threatened, Maggie will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Whether she’s awake or asleep dreaming, Maggie is faced with a difficult choice: embrace her heritage—even if it means turning into myth itself—or deny that heritage and lose everything.


What an intriguing novel to say the least. Its a mix of Native american lore and culture mixed with Celtic interests.

This author really knows how to throw you for a loop with her writing. Going back and forth explaining what is happening in the past all the while drawing you int maggies story.

Maggie is such a lovely and stubborn woman. I cant see why she doesnt go for the sherriff. Sweet wonderful and one of her best friends oh did i mention sexy as hell and wants her.

I swear there is something sinister about that young sexy native guy she meets. His character just rubs me the wrong way.

A wonderful book that is a must read for anybody into Native culture,suspense and murders mixed with myths and fairy tales.

4 stars

According to the legend, a magical raven fell in love with a beautiful green-eyed maiden. He turned her into a bird so he could mate with her. She laid a silver egg and hatched a tiny black-haired human baby girl with green eyes. The bird, not wanting a human child, intended to kick the baby out of the nest to a hungry raccoon waiting below.
“Please,” begged the maiden. “Do not kill my baby. I will stay with you forever if you let her live.”
The raven thought and thought, and finally decided he loved the maiden so much he would grant her wish under one condition. “I will agree to this, but she cannot spend all her time as a human.”
He turned his daughter into a shape shifter. The daughter could not remain in her human form for more than a day without turning. By spending some hours as a bird, the girl honored her father and her raven heritage.
As a teenager, Maggie heard Yurok kids at school talking about the shape shifter. She asked her mother about the legend. “Mom, it seems some people actually believe this raven stuff.”
“Ah, yes, I heard some Yurok and Hoopa women talkin’ at a bear dance once. They say the green-eyed raven lives down by the river. The women think it’s a good sign, too, ‘cause some wohpekumeo, shape shifters, are pukkukwerek.”
“What’s a puc-uc-were-ek, or whatever you call it?”
“Protectors of the Yurok people, monster killers.”
“Fairy tales.” Maggie shook her head. “Sorry, Mom, but I’m not buying any of this.”
“Not all legends are legends. Grandfather always said, ‘Within every myth is the seed of truth.’”
“You mean you actually believe a ‘were-raven’ could exist? There’s no such thing as were-ravens and shape shifters or pucawhatevers, Mom. That’s like believing in Sasquatch. C’mon.”
“There’s plenty folk who believe in Sasquatch, and ‘sides our people honor the limitless possibilities of nature. Who are any of us to say that anything is impossible?”
The raven dream returned. Maggie soared once again over the Trinity Alps, but this time, she flew with an unkindness of ravens who cawed to her in Yurok.
“I don’t understand everything you’re saying,” she cawed back. “My Yurok is rusty. I speak mostly English and Raven.”
One turned an eye to her and said in English, “I said you’re the pukkukwerek.”
“What? My mother told me about that. A ‘monster killer.’”
“Your mother knew.”
It was midnight, but the waxing moon was bright enough that Maggie could see veins in the leaves of the oaks she skimmed. She turned to fly toward the white cliffs of Sunset Mountain. The other ravens bid her goodbye, and peeled off. Their caws grew so faint that all Maggie could hear was the breeze moving through the conifers blended with the beat of an unseen drum. She flew closer toward the drumming until the ugly man-creature she’d seen there before came into view. She perched in the lightning-scarred Douglas fir to observe him.
This time, there were two little boys with him, both dead and naked, their skin so pale it was nearly transparent. Their clothes were folded into two stacks, shoes on top with their socks rolled and tucked inside. The twins lay on their backs side-by-side in the red dirt, arms at their sides, eyes wide open.
The big native grabbed one boy by an arm, and held him aloft in his left hand. The child’s head flopped over to one side in an unnatural angle. Bracing the small body against the fir, the creature plunged his right hand into the child’s chest as though his fingertips were made of surgical steel, and with a twist and a jerk he yanked out the heart. Unhinging his jaws, the monster shoved the entire organ into his mouth. He chewed for a long while. Blood, saliva and macerated pieces of heart dripped out a gaping hole in the side of his face where a portion of his cheek was missing. As he swallowed, a lump moved down through an exposed section of his esophagus. The monster cast aside the first boy and picked up the other.
When he had finished his second “meal,” the hideous specter cleaned the boys with a soft cloth, dressed them, meticulously brushed their hair, and laid them facing one another in the neat, rectangular hole Maggie had watched him dig in her earlier dream. He wrapped their arms around one another in an embrace, and covered them with dirt, rocks and leaves. In a little boy’s voice, he said “Bye bye, Sheshebens,” and patted the mound.
He stood. The moonlight illuminated his decayed face. Glistening pieces of heart and blood clung to his tattered deerskin shirt. He raised his arms into the air and sang a plaintive song in an Indian tongue unfamiliar to Maggie. She cawed at him. He stopped singing; looked up into the tree where she perched. He pounded his emaciated chest with both fists and laughed.

About the Author-
Peggy A. Wheeler is published under the names of Peggy A. Wheeler, Peggy Wheeler and Peggy Dembicer. Her non-fiction articles and poetry have appeared in a number of national
magazines and anthologies. She has written for Llewellyn Worldwide. Most recently, she her short story Mama’s Special Stew appears in WOMEN WRITING THE WEIRD II: Dreadful
Daughters, by Dog Horn Press.

Her B.A. in English Literature is from U.C.L.A. Her M.A. in English with a Creative Writing emphasis is from California State University at Northridge. While attending U.C.L.A., Peggy
was one of only twelve students (and the only undergraduate) chosen to study with Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States. She won first prize awards for two of her
poems from an Evergreen Women’s Press nation wide poetry contest. Her poetry received honorable mentions from the judges of a Los Angeles Poetry Festival and The Academy of
American Poets. Peggy’s poem Du Fu was nominated for a Rhysling award for Best Science Fiction Poem. Her manuscript for THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER was a top ten finalist in the 2014 CCC Great Novel contest.

Social Media Links-


(1)  What made you want to become a writer?
Difficult question to answer.  I recall writing little stories and poems when I was as young as six years old.

(2) Who was your favorite male character to write?
In my current novel, Jake Lubbock, the Sheriff of Wicklow, and the lifelong friend of my protagonist.

(3) What Inspired you to write a science fiction book?
THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER is a supernatural mystery-thriller with horror elements.  My publisher calls it “dark fantasy”.  So, not Sci Fi.  I do have a speculative novel, CHACO, inspired by a National Geographic article in June 2012 about coronal mass ejections (CMES) that would obliterate everything with a computer chip and blow out electrical grids for up to ten years if a large enough CME, or series of large CMES, were to hit Earth…and we’ve had some near misses!  So, I do have a Sci Fi book. I’ve spent two years researching helioscience for that book, actually.
(4)  Who was your favorite female character to write?
In THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER, my favorite female character is Maggie Tall Bear Sloan, half Irish, half Yurok, 100% feisty.  She’s an older character, approaching 50, but she’s still beautiful but in a natural way.  And, she’s hard as nails.  I love her.
(5) What authors influenced you to become a writer?
I’d like to be able to answer that.  I’ve read thousands of books by many authors, and even the worst have influenced me in some way.
(6) What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?
Literary, Upmarket Fiction, Straight Commercial Fiction, Magic Realism, Sci Fi, Mystery, some Fantasy, some Horror, Historical Fiction, Biography, Memoire, Non-Fiction Science (especially anything about quantum physics), the Classics.  I’m not overly fond of Romance, Erotica, Military or Westerns.  And I do not read “Slasher” books with over-the-top gore just for the sake of gore.
(7) Who are your favorite Authors and why?
Oh m’gosh. Hard question to answer.  There are so many, I can’t list them all.  I’ll talk about my single most favorite author of all time:  Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I fell in love with him when I was a student at U.C.L.A and we read his short story “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”  I was hooked from the get-go.  I was then (and still am) mesmerized by Magic Realism, and I wish I was good enough to write in that genre.  Of course Marquez is the father of Magic Realism.  I’m re-reading his Nobel Peace Prize for Literature winner, “A Hundred Years of Solitude” right now.
(8) What do you do when you aren't writing amazing novels?
I love to cook, garden, travel, wine taste, make soap, watch films, go to concerts and plays, entertain, and of course….read.  I read as much as I can.
(9) What would you tell or suggest to anybody wanting to become a writer?
Ignore the age-old advice to “write what you know.”   Instead, write what you are passionate about.  I heard that from Margaret Atwood when she spoke a few years back at the Los Angeles Book Festival.  It makes perfect sense to me. Did Ray Bradbury ever visit Mars before he wrote THE MARTIAN CHRONICALS?  Did Arthur Golden live as a female Japanese Geisha prior and during WWII before writing MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA?
(10)  Can you tell us anything about any future books you are writing?
I have four projects in the works. The sequel to CHACO that takes place on a self-sufficient commune in the Cascade Mountains.  An historical fiction that takes place during the Beat Era, narrated by the ghost of an old woman.  A Sci Fi book about a woman who is a catfish on Facebook who lures men to her home to eat them…we find out she’s a hideous alien queen with a goal to colonize Earth. A companion piece to my quirky fantasy about an oracle invented BY the protagonist, and she will be the “author,” not I.  And, I’ve an “idea file” an inch thick and growing.  I’ve got a least another thirty books in me!  Oh…and of course, THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER could easily be a series.
(11)Would you like to tell your avid readers anything else before we are done?
Ignore most reviews. If a premise of a book appeals to you, and you take an inside peek and like what you see, or your friends highly recommend a book, then buy it. Many reviews on Goodreads and Amazon are phony. Friends and family give glowing five-star reviews on poorly written books to help writers.  And, sometimes, just the opposite.  There are some reviewers who dislike a writer for personal reasons and give poor reviews on a well-written book with a beautiful story to hurt the writer. Hard to know which reviews to trust. I wish Amazon would do away with the “star system” and just allow people’s written reviews to speak for themselves. That might help…some.  

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