Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – A-
“The Walker Papers” is series that tends to get stronger with every book and this installment is no exception. While it wasn’t my favorite of the series, it did take some of the most interesting aspects of book seven, including the time travel, and made them smoother and easier to follow. Mountain Echoes is packed with action and never has a dull moment. Plus, fans of the series will love the large amount of page time devoted to Joanne and Morrison. Don’t let the synopsis fool you; Captain Morrison is all over this novel. Gary is absent for the most part, and while he is my favorite character, it makes sense because of his last role in the previous book. If you already enjoy this series, you will be very happy with this novel, but I wouldn’t suggest new readers try jumping in at this point.
Joanne has returned home to the reservation to help find her missing father. She didn’t leave on good terms the last time, and a lot of people don’t want her around. She also finds out once she gets there that her ex-boyfriend, and Sarah’s current husband, Lucas is also missing. Once Joanne begins to investigation, she can feel the Master’s touch behind everything and soon finds herself battling a force that can only be called The Nothing. As Joanne struggles to save her dad and Lucas, she comes face to face with the child she had to give up in the past, Aidan. Though happy with his adoptive mother, Aidan is very much like Joanne and the Master seeks to control her through him. Now Joanne is in a race against time to save the two men that she had previously loved the most and the young son she never got a chance to know. With the rest of the village not willing to help, it takes an opportune arrival by her lover, Captain Morrison, to give Joanne the strength to believe she can succeed against all odds.
The plot was very fast-paced and exciting, but it was the little moments that really made it shine. Learning more about Joanne’s time on the reservation and how other people had seen her gave a depth to the story and Joanne’s background that had previously been missing. We learned more about why Joanne was the way she was and how so many people around her tried to protect her by keeping her in the dark. Though they had their reasons, the feeling of being lied to and left out shaped Joanne’s teenage years and ultimately gave her the personal fortitude to become the shaman she is today. I liked the development we’ve seen in her and how she has changed throughout the series. She realized that she carries a chip on her shoulder and has worked to change that. She’s become more accepting of help and goodwill, but has still stayed strong and sarcastic. She is becoming a much better version of herself in every book and it is wonderful. Not only has she learned to accept her shamanic gifts, she has also learned to accept the world and the people around her into her life.
The development in Joanne and Morrison’s relationship was nice to see as well. They have fully transitioned into coupled now and their chemistry is all the better for it. They still squabble and tease, but it’s all done in fun. They support and trust in one another and share their strength no matter the odds. You know Joanne has it bad because she wasn’t even mad when Morrison drove her car, Petite! I think that Morrison helps Joanne to grow up a little bit and take life and herself a little more seriously, while Joanne helps Morrison to feel younger and freer. She gets him into situations he could never imagine, but his is unflappable and just goes a long for the ride. I really like them together.
Joanne makes some strides in her family life as well. She is able to reconnect with her father in a way she never thought possible and even gets to know her son some. I liked having them in the story and learning more about life in the Qualla Boundary. Joanne also finds her third spirit animal in this book and Renee helps to round out her powers and make her transitions much smoother. She is a nice fit with Raven and Rattler. The one character I’ve never liked, and still don’t after this book, is Sarah. She carries a real grudge against Joanne and I honestly can’t stand it. Lucas was the one who got Joanne pregnant and then left her alone and Sarah, instead of helping her friend out, was angry because she liked Lucas. She cut off Joanne but kept in contact with the absentee baby daddy and eventually ended up marrying him. I think Joanne should just haul back and deck her; she’s a complete bitca and nothing she has done in any of the books has made me feel any different. I don’t feel like Joanne owes her anything. It should be Sarah apologizing to Joanne for being such a crappy friend in the past. If we never see her again, I won’t be sad.
This book does end with a patented Murphy cliffhanger, but this time it involves Gary. I’m assuming that means we’ll be back in Seattle for the next book and that’s fitting since it is the last in the series. I’m excited to see how C.E. Murphy wraps up Joanne’s story and am definitely excited by the promise of more Gary time. Readers of “The Walker Papers,” get thee to a bookstore on February 26th and buy yourself a copy of Mountain Echoes. You won’t be disappointed!
Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Luna for providing an ARC copy of this book!
1. Urban Shaman
1.5 “Banshee Cries” (story found in the Winter Moon anthology)
2. Thunderbird Falls
3. Coyote Dreams
4. Walking Dead
5. Demon Hunts
6. Spirit Dances
7. Raven Calls
7.5 No Dominion (novella)
8. Mountain Echoes
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