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The Pumpkin Seed Massacre

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Native American psychologist Ben Pecos has returned to the New Mexico pueblo of his birth as an intern with the Indian Health Service. Still struggling with the demons of his past, he is plunged into the nightmare rampage of a mysterious illness that is killing the residents of the pueblo, including his own grandmother. One of the victims, the powerful tribal governor, ha Native American psychologist Ben Pecos has returned to the New Mexico pueblo of his birth as an intern with the Indian Health Service. Still struggling with the demons of his past, he is plunged into the nightmare rampage of a mysterious illness that is killing the residents of the pueblo, including his own grandmother. One of the victims, the powerful tribal governor, had made powerful enemies, and Ben suspects his murder was premeditated—but that doesn't explain the insidious killer now stalking the innocent. Undaunted, Ben digs deep into the motives of power and greed to root out a killer whose deadly agenda is spiraling out of control. Newly edited e-book edition


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Native American psychologist Ben Pecos has returned to the New Mexico pueblo of his birth as an intern with the Indian Health Service. Still struggling with the demons of his past, he is plunged into the nightmare rampage of a mysterious illness that is killing the residents of the pueblo, including his own grandmother. One of the victims, the powerful tribal governor, ha Native American psychologist Ben Pecos has returned to the New Mexico pueblo of his birth as an intern with the Indian Health Service. Still struggling with the demons of his past, he is plunged into the nightmare rampage of a mysterious illness that is killing the residents of the pueblo, including his own grandmother. One of the victims, the powerful tribal governor, had made powerful enemies, and Ben suspects his murder was premeditated—but that doesn't explain the insidious killer now stalking the innocent. Undaunted, Ben digs deep into the motives of power and greed to root out a killer whose deadly agenda is spiraling out of control. Newly edited e-book edition

30 review for The Pumpkin Seed Massacre

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    No minor characters here! This is a well-constructed story. The characters are well-developed, relatively believable, and work nicely in the plots, as well as within the trope, where an interplay of Native American tradition and more intersects with modern greed and the invasion of crime. The major characters are wonderful, but the power and humor of the book (mostly a bit dark humor, to be sure) depends to a large extent on the characters that might be called minor. These people appear for short No minor characters here! This is a well-constructed story. The characters are well-developed, relatively believable, and work nicely in the plots, as well as within the trope, where an interplay of Native American tradition and more intersects with modern greed and the invasion of crime. The major characters are wonderful, but the power and humor of the book (mostly a bit dark humor, to be sure) depends to a large extent on the characters that might be called minor. These people appear for short times, but do things that cause the entire story to turn. I really enjoyed that part. There are some problems scientifically. If you are a scientist, and get hung up on science stuff, you might want to chill a bit before this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    I really wanted to like this book -> but was difficult to like . too busy jumping from place to place . the hallmark of a good novel is: [you can’t put it down: the pages flow freely from one to the next] . I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of Pueblo and Tewa traditions but found the plot contrived and disjointed, with bad CSI-style pseudo-science, and a melodramatic spice of romance thrown in . -PLEASE DROP THE COMPARISON TO TONY HILLERMAN- I may be overly gracious giving it two stars...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Palmer-Friedman

    I could not get involved in this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Avid Series Reader

    Set in Tewa Pueblo and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ben Pecos returns to the pueblo, his birthplace, undecided whether to reconnect with his heritage. Mysterious deaths of pueblo elders are investigated by Dr. Sandy Black in Albuquerque's Indian Hospital as well as Atlanta's Center for Disease Control (CDC). Many on the pueblo believe spirits are causing the deaths because the cemetery is being enlarged. Cub reporter Julie Conlin is assigned to cover the mystery illness at Tewa Pueblo. When the Pueb Set in Tewa Pueblo and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ben Pecos returns to the pueblo, his birthplace, undecided whether to reconnect with his heritage. Mysterious deaths of pueblo elders are investigated by Dr. Sandy Black in Albuquerque's Indian Hospital as well as Atlanta's Center for Disease Control (CDC). Many on the pueblo believe spirits are causing the deaths because the cemetery is being enlarged. Cub reporter Julie Conlin is assigned to cover the mystery illness at Tewa Pueblo. When the Pueblo Governor dies suddenly, his successor makes a deal with investors and begins building a casino on pueblo land. When a young tourist is almost killed by the illness, Ben and Julie team up to help Sandy Black identify and stop the epidemic. 96-year-old Lorenzo Loretto roams the pueblo at will and knows its many secrets. He befriends Julie, provides vital clues and is a catalyst in a final showdown. The story jumps abruptly and unevenly in places. Chapters or subsections of a chapter may be hours, days or weeks apart, perhaps due to scenes that were edited out for the final publication. Clear indications of elapsed time between scenes would improve the story flow.

  5. 5 out of 5

    K

    Two and a half stars, rounded up for what was the seed (pun intended) of a decent plot. But please don’t mistake this for anything remotely close to a Hillerman novel. And if, in fact, the talented Tony Hillerman said that this was a gripping novel, I would have liked some of whatever he’d been drinking. The rating is held back by one dimensional characters, obvious storylines and predictable action and dialogue. Hey, if writing a great novel was easy, BookBub wouldn’t have any to give away for Two and a half stars, rounded up for what was the seed (pun intended) of a decent plot. But please don’t mistake this for anything remotely close to a Hillerman novel. And if, in fact, the talented Tony Hillerman said that this was a gripping novel, I would have liked some of whatever he’d been drinking. The rating is held back by one dimensional characters, obvious storylines and predictable action and dialogue. Hey, if writing a great novel was easy, BookBub wouldn’t have any to give away for free.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Jones

    Wonderful A new authour for me,loved the story. Set in an Indian town in New Mexico. The plot was devious but rapid.The villains were really awe full. The major characters we likeable especially the old man. kept me up most of the night to finish it. will be following this series, strongly recommend it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda Ellis

    Interesting, but not gripping Set in a New Mexico pueblo, this novel gives an interesting view of Native American customs and beliefs. I picked it up largely because of the recommendation by Tony Hillerman whose Navaho stories I find totally fascinating. The plot focuses on a series of sudden deaths among elderly members of the tribe, including the grandmother of the leading character, Ben Pecos. Ben is a psychologist serving an internship at the local Indian health centre, returning after many y Interesting, but not gripping Set in a New Mexico pueblo, this novel gives an interesting view of Native American customs and beliefs. I picked it up largely because of the recommendation by Tony Hillerman whose Navaho stories I find totally fascinating. The plot focuses on a series of sudden deaths among elderly members of the tribe, including the grandmother of the leading character, Ben Pecos. Ben is a psychologist serving an internship at the local Indian health centre, returning after many years to the place of his birth, and uncertain whether he wants to stay there. He becomes involved in the search for the source of the deaths. I’m not clear how a psychologist fits into the situation- that part of his background doesn’t enter into the story at all. I found it interesting, but not gripping, The characters did not come to life for me, except for one minor character, a very old man who is unable to communicate verbally, but is nevertheless endearing. ( 3.5 stars)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth Plate

    Pumpkin Seed Massacre The plot was interesting . I thought some of the characters backstories could have been stronger. Otherwise, an enjoyable read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Ben met Julia when they were working in the Indian land to help them. One of the elder chiefs dies from illness sudden and quickly and they couldn't figure out what and why it happened after someone else died the same way. There was Native people who agreed to have a casino built on their land. Lots of them said no. But they began building it anyhow. More suspicious deaths. But they only seemed to be around the Native lands. Was it a new virus or flu? The health and FBI got into it also. Lots of Ben met Julia when they were working in the Indian land to help them. One of the elder chiefs dies from illness sudden and quickly and they couldn't figure out what and why it happened after someone else died the same way. There was Native people who agreed to have a casino built on their land. Lots of them said no. But they began building it anyhow. More suspicious deaths. But they only seemed to be around the Native lands. Was it a new virus or flu? The health and FBI got into it also. Lots of medical things when their talking about this "illness" so I cant go into much on that , you have to read it yourself & find out how it all was finally solved

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lucie

    If you liked Tony Hillerman's books, you will enjoy this one. Susan Slater has blended a well plotted mystery with tribal customs and beliefs to craft a compelling story with just a touch of romance to keep two main characters working together searching for answers. If you liked Tony Hillerman's books, you will enjoy this one. Susan Slater has blended a well plotted mystery with tribal customs and beliefs to craft a compelling story with just a touch of romance to keep two main characters working together searching for answers.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    The Pumpkin Seed Massacre Very interesting and entertaining story about a plan to open a casino on Indian land and how far some people will go to get what they want. Even murder seems acceptable as a means to an end.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carlin

    Wow, what a great mystery, #1 in the Ben Pecos series. I read it straight through, totally caught up in the story. Centered in and around the Tewa Pueblo in New Mexico several elderly members of the tribe have died of a virulent illness. Ben is an intern with the Indian Health Services who teams up with a young woman reporter Julie (and infectious disease specialists) to investigate. Even though we know almost from the beginning who and/or what is responsible for the deaths, the excitement of fo Wow, what a great mystery, #1 in the Ben Pecos series. I read it straight through, totally caught up in the story. Centered in and around the Tewa Pueblo in New Mexico several elderly members of the tribe have died of a virulent illness. Ben is an intern with the Indian Health Services who teams up with a young woman reporter Julie (and infectious disease specialists) to investigate. Even though we know almost from the beginning who and/or what is responsible for the deaths, the excitement of following the clues with the main characters kept me completely on the edge of my seat. All the characters are well-realized, the New Mexican setting, and the ancient Puebloan culture as much a part of the story as the people. It did remind me of Tony (and Anne) Hillerman novels. I will definitely read more in this series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robin Northcutt

    Good Series Enjoyed the book. Thought characters and storyline were good. Will need to read another one to fully decide I If it a series to folliw

  14. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Lee

    A difficult story line to understand and appreciate A story of greed, decption, murder and heart break in an Indian community bounded by tradition and struggling to understand deaths of its cie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Good This book is one about how the people in a resveration in New Mexico have problems with people in there own

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi Fowles

    A Great Read I really enjoyed The Pumpkin Seed Massacre. The setting and characters were fresh and vibrant. Plot was believable and pretty accurate. Characters were well drawn with room to grow. Native culture was sprinkled throughout, very little political overtones. A pretty easy read, hard to put down.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked the story. It was different in that it took you on a hunt for the cause of an outbreak of something on an Indian reservation that was causing deaths among the elderly. The three rating was for the characters. I could not become attached to any of them except the 90 something Indian man could not talk but was able to wanderer around the reservation on his own. He always manages to show up in places where he was just in time to help someone. He stuck in my mind and I kept waiting for him t I liked the story. It was different in that it took you on a hunt for the cause of an outbreak of something on an Indian reservation that was causing deaths among the elderly. The three rating was for the characters. I could not become attached to any of them except the 90 something Indian man could not talk but was able to wanderer around the reservation on his own. He always manages to show up in places where he was just in time to help someone. He stuck in my mind and I kept waiting for him to reappear on the page.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Cacek

    Great mystery story. Very good mystery story using Indian culture and history as the background. A very true accounting of public and media coverage of current events, and how gossip escalates.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wilma

    A mysterious illness spreads in the small village of Native Americans. Ben comes back to his reservation to try and save the people and their community. meanwhile, the Lieutenant Governor plots to kill the Governor of the reservation and take over so he can build a huge casino and make lots of money. Good plot and good characters.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Teach You To Be Greedy This story involved me from the start. I had to keep reading and discover all the twists and turns. Good all the way.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This free nook book was set in Indian country.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Quatrano

    Pumpkin Seed a Masterful Tale I've been a Hillerman fan forever and Slater's well-told tale shares many of this Indian Nation's customs and culture, a feature we Hillerman fans have come to appreciate. I will be reading more of Slater's Pecos series. Pumpkin Seed a Masterful Tale I've been a Hillerman fan forever and Slater's well-told tale shares many of this Indian Nation's customs and culture, a feature we Hillerman fans have come to appreciate. I will be reading more of Slater's Pecos series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeannine

    I picked up this book because I seem to be on a roll with Native American mysteries lately...........Tony and Anne Hillerman and Margaret Coel. This was a bit disappointing. First, it's supposed to be a Ben Pecos mystery but the main character is only in about a third of the book, if that. The concept is good but the characters are so under-developed that it's hard to get involved. Even the bad guys do things at times that are surprising or not in what little character has been outlined for them I picked up this book because I seem to be on a roll with Native American mysteries lately...........Tony and Anne Hillerman and Margaret Coel. This was a bit disappointing. First, it's supposed to be a Ben Pecos mystery but the main character is only in about a third of the book, if that. The concept is good but the characters are so under-developed that it's hard to get involved. Even the bad guys do things at times that are surprising or not in what little character has been outlined for them. And there is no buildup in the plot, things just happen and you're not sure why......maybe it was over-edited. I just feel it was missing content.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dan A. Foster

    Pumpkin The story was very good, with good character development and plot. I could have done without the graphic sex scenes.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bob Weber

    Interesting who done it Interesting characters with a believable plot make for a good read. Some scenes a little far fetched, but mostly realistic story. Would read the next book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    Psychologist Ben Pecos has just returned to his birthplace, the Tewa Pueblo in New Mexico, to intern with the Indian Health Service. He was adopted as a young child, growing up outside the Pueblo. Unfortunately, just as he returns, Tribal elders begin dying from a mysterious illness that kills quickly. Ten tribal members, including Pecos' grandmother, die from the virus. The IHS and an investigative reporter from Albuquerque work together to discover the source of the upper respiratory illness a Psychologist Ben Pecos has just returned to his birthplace, the Tewa Pueblo in New Mexico, to intern with the Indian Health Service. He was adopted as a young child, growing up outside the Pueblo. Unfortunately, just as he returns, Tribal elders begin dying from a mysterious illness that kills quickly. Ten tribal members, including Pecos' grandmother, die from the virus. The IHS and an investigative reporter from Albuquerque work together to discover the source of the upper respiratory illness and how to stop it. During their investigation, they discover that the outbreak might not be accidental and that land fraud, murder and greed are behind the deaths. I enjoyed the descriptions of life in the Pueblo and Tewa traditions. But, the mystery portion of the plot just seemed a bit too contrived. The virus is spread with tainted pumpkin seeds by men who want to build a casino in the Pueblo. The whole time I was reading I kept thinking to myself that in real life if a tribal elder stood in the way of major criminals there would be an easier way to murder him than to give him a packet of pumpkin seeds tainted with manufactured hantavirus. The plot wound around and became unnecessarily convoluted because the murder plot itself was ridiculously melodramatic. People with greedy, evil intent don't cook up devious plans to kill people with a virus....they just kill the person outright, or make it look like a simple accident. An over-done murder plan with too many people involved just increases the chances of something going wrong.....and in this case, that's the very thing that happens. Instead of killing only the one tribal elder they wanted dead....they killed 10 people. Then they had to kill more people to cover up the fact that they had killed people. That does help an author round out a 250 page book, but it's obviously fiction and not something that would realistically happen. I almost stopped reading the book when someone with the IHS called Ben Pecos to tell him that she had found micro-punctures at the base of the pumpkin seeds where something had been injected. It was like bad CSI-style pseudo-science. The romance angle between Ben Pecos and Julie Conlin, a reporter from Albuquerque, seemed a bit forced to me. It was a bit like the author knew she needed to have some romance in the book so just conveniently dropped in a cute, anglo female reporter and *poof*.... insta-romance! Bit meh on the lovey-dovey portion of the plot, too. There are two more Ben Pecos mystery novels by Susan Slater. I like the tribal lore and descriptions enough to read the next book. I hope the mystery element is better in the remaining books. That portion of the plot really fell flat for me in this first book. If the second book, Yellow Lies, is as overly melodramatic as this one, I won't read the third and final book of the series. All in all, this book was ok. I much prefer Tony Hillerman. My rating: 5/10 Ages: 13+

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mardene

    An easy read Well written, light weight, pleasant lead players, dirty villains, excellent background noise. A good read for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Beck

    Yay for Tony Hillerman fans. Ben Pecos returns to his Tewa village and finds a virus is spreading and killing people. A novice reporter is sent to do some research and cover the frightening story. Together, they find a conspiracy to insure the building of an unwanted casino. A virologist infects pumpkin seeds-which was only to kill the current governor of Tewa and replace him with a new greedy governor more inclined to their side. Unfortunately the seeds end up being eaten by others, and left for Yay for Tony Hillerman fans. Ben Pecos returns to his Tewa village and finds a virus is spreading and killing people. A novice reporter is sent to do some research and cover the frightening story. Together, they find a conspiracy to insure the building of an unwanted casino. A virologist infects pumpkin seeds-which was only to kill the current governor of Tewa and replace him with a new greedy governor more inclined to their side. Unfortunately the seeds end up being eaten by others, and left for deer mice as well, and a Hanta Virus is off and running with the CDC in hot pursuit.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leenna Naidoo

    A great who-dunnit and why set in a pueblo of New Mexico. The story grows, much like the deaths. Loved how the Native American beliefs and traditions were seemlessly integrated into the modern lives of the peublo village. The little twists were satisfying while the , and I’ll be looking out for more in this series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Crystal OBrien

    This book was surprising good, and the first in what I learned is a series based on the main character. It was good enough where I am going to check out the following book Yellow Lies, to see if reads as well as the first. It is a smaller book, but a good read.

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