Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
After Sam returns home from two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he moves to the Colorado mountains, where he hopes to begin a new life with his husband, Michael. Sam becomes the sheriff of sparsely populated Pine County, while Michael opens a curio shop for tourists where he sells his art. When Sam and his deputy attempt to rescue a body from a dangerously fragile mountainside snowpack, Sam’s perception of the world, his husband, and the veracity of truths whispered in old winds, are called into question.
It was the title that drew me to this story. Whispers of Old Winds promised something magical and ancient and that’s exactly what George Seaton delivered along with an established romance and mysticism in the Colorado mountains.
Sam and Michael’s back history is delivered in nice brief glimpses throughout this short story. We see how they met, and tiny moments from their previous lives, including Sam’s tours of duty where he saw things he couldn’t quite bring himself to believe. Now married and the sheriff of a quiet Colorado town, a call to rescue someone (dead or alive) from an area to be avoided at all costs brings the supernatural back into Sam and Michael’s world. Or maybe its been there all along.
Seaton’s story is far larger than the 38 pages listed. Its full of native american mythology, shapeshifters, and worlds far beyond the mundane we see around us. The author’s writing is so beautifully plotted and vividly described that he pulls us so smoothly into the lives of his characters and the events that are occurring that when the action starts we are jarred out of our complacency along with the characters.
The characterizations are wonderful, especially those of Sam, Digger (the naive Deputy) and Hank Tall Horse, the old Ute Indian so central to the story. Michael is more vague, but I wonder if that wasn’t on purpose, especially given the ending of the story. There is so much here that it would be a shame for the author not to continue on, to bring them all back for a larger book that they call cry out for. That is the only reason for the less than perfect rating, a feeling that things were left undone, unsettled and maybe a bit shaky.
Several of the advent stories have their own covers. How I wish this had been one of them. It deserved it. I highly recommend this story. Its unusual and quite wonderful.