Most helpful critical review
Moore enthusiasts will enjoy this early novel.
on July 4, 2002
If you are already a fan and need a Moore "fix," this novel will keep you thoroughly occupied with its wacky charm, its light-hearted approach to cosmic issues, and its skewed, but respectful, treatment of Native American life and traditions. Coming after Practical Demonkeeping, his debut novel, it has many of the elements for which Moore has become so (justly) popular with his later novels, though its plot and characters are not as fully developed, and the book is not as outrageous or crazily funny as those.
Sam Hunter, the main character, is a 35-year-old California insurance salesman, a Crow Indian whose real name is Sam Hunts Alone. Having attacked a policeman as a teen, Sam became a fugitive from the Crow Agency, and now, twenty years later, leads a totally predictable, boring life--that is, until Old Man Coyote (the trickster), Sam's spiritual helper, arrives, bringing "chaos--the new order in his life."
A beautiful woman, her biker-druggie-ex-lover, and an assortment of wackos, stir up the action, as Sam tries to figure out who he really is and, with Coyote's "help," learn what he is capable of. Lots of wild action and some potentially hilarious scenes are reined in, a bit, by Moore's focus on Sam's Indian traditions and why they are, or should be, important to him, a subject serious enough to curtail the uninhibited flights of craziness that we now expect from Moore. This is fun, but it's a somewhat more thoughtful novel, overall, than the outrageous, campy stories for which Moore is now famous.