Solomon Bull is a Blackfoot Indian who’s in college and day-trading for a living while also training for an extreme marathon through some of the roughest terrain in the Southwest. While that might be enough for some novels, that’s only the opening premise. The marathon is run by a mercenary (or terrorist) recruiter, and Solomon wants to see if he can finish it to live up to the legacy of his father, who was killed in the 1970s while fighting for the American Indian Movement. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his roommate, resulting in a bet that Solomon can derail the reelection of their state’s senator in favor of a more liberal challenger. From there, things get weird.
Solomon finds himself caught between the federal government and the organizer of the Desert Dog marathon. Forced to investigate by a Treasury agent, he still wants to complete the run just to prove he can. At the same time, the senator he’s campaigning against isn’t going down without a fight, and what should Solomon do when he hears rumor of the senator’s possible abuse of Native American kids.
All of the plotlines feed in and out of the narrative, keeping the reader rushing to the end, much like trying a controlled run to the bottom of a steep hill. Solomon Bull is an interesting mix of adventure story, government conspiracy, Native American culture, and Libertarian philosophy. It’s politically incorrect, unexpectedly humorous, and thoughtful all at the same time. The dialog mostly flows smoothly, the character development is handled exceptionally well, and even with the competing plotlines, still stays coherent to the end. Clayton Lindemuth will fit in for fans of Greg Rucka’s Atticus Kodiak or Andrew Vachss’s Burke stories. Solomon Bull is an entertaining political conspiracy novel, with an engaging protagonist that fights the limitations imposed on him by both others and his personal demons he’s determined to overcome.