Don’t Come Back by Tower Lowe

‘Thunder sounded, but there wasn’t a storm, and no rain fell on the tin roof.’

An elderly woman is kidnapped in Española, New Mexico. Her abductors have left a ransom note. Alicia, the abducted woman, is ill and requires regular kidney dialysis. But who would abduct a sick, elderly woman?

FBI Agent Ray Yazzie (sometimes spelt Yazee) is contacted in Albuquerque:

‘The possibility of Interstate or tribal involvement brings in the FBI.’

Ray Yazzie has been in New Mexico for two months. He is troubled by dreams, has visions and hears voices which somehow seem to be connected to the Navajo past he is thinking of exploring. He worries that he might be going crazy, and in one of his dreams he hears a voice tell him:

‘Find the one-armed Irish woman.’

Once in Española, he meets Molly Donovan, a private investigator for a firm called Carlos Can Find Out. Molly, who lost the use of one arm in high school, had moved to a village near Española to be near her family.

What follows is a complicated story involving contradictory stories from Alicia’s friends and family about who might have abducted Alicia and why. At the same time, Ray is looking into his own Navajo history and Molly is considering her relationship with Miguel. The search for Alicia continues, made more urgent by her need for dialysis.

This is the second novel Ms Lowe has written featuring Molly Donovan. I have not yet read the first novel in this series and while I intend to at some stage, this novel can easily be read as a standalone. Ms Lowe has a knack for developing complex stories featuring disabled protagonists. This story involves several different characters, some complex issues, with a touch of romance and magic.

I enjoyed reading this novel and hope to read more about both Molly and Ray.

‘Old stories hid in the corners of these houses and the cracked earth beneath—tales of love, shame, joy and isolation.’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith