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Unique characters, setting create entertaining novel

Authors Win and Meredith Blevins launch new series

The writing team of Win and Meredith Blevins has created a new novel, The Darkness Rolling, featuring a unique hero, Yazzie Goldman. This is to be the first in a series that features Yazzie, who is half Navajo/Diné and half Jewish.

The setting and time frame also are unusual. The story opens as Yazzie musters out of the Navy at the end of World War II and returns to his home in Oljato, near Monument Valley.

Yazzie’s mother, Nizhoni, is a proud woman who helps her father, Moses Goldman, run the family’s trading post, which is tucked into the southeastern corner of Utah.

Things have changed in the six years Yazzie has been gone, in part because his grandfather had a stroke which left his right side paralyzed.

The trading post and the corrals and outbuildings have all fallen into a sad state.

Nizhoni thinks that now that Yazzie is home, he will help make repairs, but Yazzie has other ideas.

Hollywood has come to the valley, and John Ford is shooting another film, called “My Darling Clementine.” Ford filmed “Stagecoach” there earlier, and he is in love with the scenery. One of his starring actresses, the stunning Linda Darnell, has been receiving threatening letters, and Ford wants Yazzie to provide security for her.

Because Yazzie spent his war years as a shore patrol officer, Ford believes Yazzie is perfectly suited for the job.

Yazzie had worked as an interpreter for Ford before and proved both helpful and trustworthy. Yazzie figures he can hang around the Hollywood crowd and use his pay to hire clansmen to help at the trading post.

Meanwhile, an evil force is at work and threatens to rock Yazzie’s world. The authors use third-person voice in brief inserts to create a chilling antagonist who has nothing but evil plans for Yazzie’s family. Using Navajo lore, they have created a character that is even more forbidding and deadly than a mere human. During the past 25 years, this character has become almost mystical in his thirst for revenge.

This story is masterful in its blending of fictional characters with real ones from the golden age of movie making during the 1930s and 1940s.

Woven into the story are master filmmaker John Ford, actress Linda Darnell and actor Henry Fonda, and even eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes makes an appearance.

The Blevinses bring these characters to life with small but important details and personal idiosyncrasies, which make them believable and human, despite their fame.

The Darkness Rolling showcases the stark beauty of the Southwest and especially Monument Valley.

The authors take readers into the world of the Navajo with accuracy and sensitivity.

The narrative is sprinkled liberally with key Navajo words used in context and explained within the story, which adds to its realistic mood. For those readers familiar with the Navajo Nation of today, there is much that is familiar in the story, even though it takes place decades ago.

The story does not ignore the Jewish side of Yazzie’s life and takes readers into the culture of Sephardic Jews, many of whom lived in northern New Mexico, especially in Santa Fe. The amount of research that must have been done by the authors is impressive. The details of the time period, the setting and the cultures enhance the absorbing and sometimes terrifying action of the story.

Yazzie Goldman is quite the creation – tall, fit and smart, with a classic education thanks to his grandfather. He is a young man with a foot in two very different worlds at a time when major changes are happening in the country. Yazzie is torn between the world he was raised in and the new, faster-paced life he was exposed to during his years away in the Navy. He is a complicated, fascinating character who will be a pleasure to read about as his life unfolds.

The Darkness Rolling is a captivating read.


Authors Win and Meredith Blevins will sign and read from their new book, The Darkness Rolling, at 6:30 p.m. June 30 at Maria’s Bookshop.