A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Sunday, June 9, 2013


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received this book from Netgalley. This is a digital copy of a book originally published in 1992. This is a Belle Bridge publication. Cleve Black Horse was a one time rodeo champion. But, he had fallen on hard times and was cash strapped. He was traveling to a rodeo in hopes of earning a little money when his truck broke down. He was given a lift by a man and then later after a few bar stops and a few beers they picked up a stranger and the next thing Cleve knows the owner of the truck is dead and stranger is gone and Cleve is the number one suspect. Susan, a nurse, gets selected for jury duty. She is determined to take her job seriously and tries to do what she thinks is the right thing. She is not convinced that Cleve murdered anyone and wants to vote "not guilty". But, she is the only one holding out. Eventually, she is bullied into a guilty vote. Cleve is sentenced to life, then some. But, the paths of these two people are destined to cross again. Susan tries to put the trial behind her. One night an accident victim arrives at the hospital. The young woman is 6 months pregnant. The girl dies, but they are able to save the baby. The baby's only relative is an aunt , Vera, that has a house full of her own kids and off again, on again relationship with her husband. Vera knows that she can not care for a special needs child. So, when Susan becomes attached to Sam, Vera supports her intention of adopting the baby. However, there is a big hitch. The judge on the reservation is adamant that the child be raised by his own people and not a white woman. Vera finally confided to Susan that her sister named Cleve Black Horse as the father of her baby. Now Susan needs to get Cleve to acknowledge the child and help her become Sam's mother. So, Susan begins to visit Cleve in prison. This novel holds nothing back when dealing with the stark realities of prison life, racism, and life on a reservation. Although Cleve and Susan are from vastly different backgrounds, and Susan was partly responsible for Cleve's wrongful imprisonment, the two form a friendship. With little Sam's needs and best interest at the center of their relationship they work together to overcome their fears, learn to accept the hand they were dealt and find love and contentment as well as personal growth and maturity. Sam, Cleve and Susan get their happily ever after, but not all loose ends get tied up, which is more realistic and fits this book's tone. But, have no fear, if you read this book, you will love it. Overall a solid A

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