David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is author of the novel WINTER COUNTS (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020; paperback, 2021), nominated for the 2021 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and winner of the Anthony, Thriller, Lefty, Barry, and Macavity Awards for Best First Novel. The novel was also awarded the Spur Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and Best First Novel, the High Plains Book Award, and the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing. WINTER COUNTS was also nominated for these literary awards: the Hammett Prize, Shamus, VCU Cabell, Reading the West, Colorado Book Award, Goodreads Choice Awards (Best Debut Novel and Best Mystery & Thriller), and Book of the Year by Book of the Month Club.
WINTER COUNTS, an IndieBound and Amazon bestseller, is a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Amazon, Sun Sentinel, LitReactor, CrimeReads, Deadly Pleasures, Air Mail, MysteryPeople, and BOLO Books. The book was also selected as an Amazon Best Book of 2020 and Best Mystery and Thriller of the year, an Indie Next pick, Best Noir Fiction and Best Debut of the Year as well as a Notable Selection for Best Crime Novel by CrimeReads. The novel was a main selection of the Book of the Month Club, Best of the Month by Apple Books, and was the November choice of the BuzzFeed Book Club and the AWP Virtual Book Club.
The book was released in 2021 in France by Gallmeister Editions and titled JUSTICE INDIENNE. The novel is also being translated into German, Turkish, Polish, and Japanese, and was released in the United Kingdom in 2021 by Simon & Schuster UK. The novel has been optioned for film production.
The novel received rave/positive reviews from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed), Library Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Shelf Awareness, Booklist, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Denver Post, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, BookPage, Air Mail, LitHub, Crime Fiction Lover Magazine, Criminal Element, Fredricksburg Free-Lance Star, Colorado Sentinel, Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine, Crime Time, Mystery Scene, BOLO Books; Vol. 1 Brooklyn, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Rain Taxi, Santa Fe Lifestyles, Bookreporter, Billings Gazette, Financial Times, The Guardian, Daily Express, and World Literature Today.
It was mentioned as one of 2020’s most anticipated books by O, the Oprah Magazine, USA Today, Washington Post, Time, Salon, CrimeReads, Library Journal, Mystery Tribune, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, Electric Lit, Betches, Shondaland, Dandelion Chandelier, Popsugar, Debutiful, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Observer, Lit Hub, AARP Magazine, The Millions, The Writer, and Book Riot.
WINTER COUNTS is the story of a local Native American enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation who becomes obsessed with finding and stopping the dealer who is bringing increasingly dangerous drugs into his community. It’s a Native thriller, an examination of the broken criminal justice system on reservations, and a meditation on Native identity. Benjamin Percy, author of The Dark Net, says, “The full-throttle, can’t-put-it-downness of this novel is a fact. WINTER COUNTS is a hell of a gripping debut, perfectly plotted, and David Heska Wanbli Weiden is a major new voice in crime fiction, indigenous fiction, and American literature.”
Weiden is also the author of the children’s book SPOTTED TAIL (Reycraft, 2019), a biography of the great Lakota leader and winner of the 2020 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He’s published work in the New York Times, Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, Tribal College Journal, and other magazines. He teaches in the low-residency MFA programs at Regis University, the Pan-European MFA program at Cedar Crest College, and at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. Previously, he taught in the MFA program in Writing and Publishing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, his law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a MacDowell Fellow, Tin House Scholar, Ragdale Foundation resident, VONA alumnus, participant in the Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive, and received the 2018 PEN/America Writing for Justice Fellowship. He’s an active member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Writers of America, and also a member of the Dramatists Guild and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers. He’s Professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and lives in Colorado with his family.
His last name, Weiden, is pronounced “Why-den.” Heska Wanbli is pronounced “Heh-ska Wahn-blee.” His nation, the Sicangu Lakota, is pronounced “See-chon-goo Lah-coat-ah.”
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