Where they Bury You is the newest novel by Steve Kohlhagen. It’s a historical fiction based around the death of Major Joseph Cummings, who was the Provost Marshal of Santa Fe during the Civil War. He was found in an arroyo near what is now the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona with roughly what would be millions in today’s money in his saddlebags. Officially, it is said that Cummings was shot by an Indian & there wasn’t much of an investigation at the time due to the war. However, over the ensuing years, more information his come to light that question who Cummings was and where his activities were during the war. Mr. Kohlhagen mixes history with fiction in his take on events leading up Cummings’s death, and has created a wonderful novel that is a mix of Civil War, western & mystery novel.
The novel has several different storylines that eventually all come together. It starts with the conflict between Cochise, Chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, and the Army. Lieutenant George Bascon arrives under orders to investigate a kidnaping of a little boy by Indians. He immediately blames Cochise and through his own foolishness starts a major conflict with the Apaches. At the same time, things are heating up in Washington with the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. States have already succeeded the Union and it is already a matter of weeks before war breaks out. During all of this, August Damours, Lilly Smoot & Joseph Cummings come together and hatch a scheme to embezzle thousands from the Army. It’s the perfect con job, but exactly is conning who?
The story starts off a little slow due to the sheer amount of backstory & setup, but it quickly picks up. There are a few spots where it gets hard to keep track of the characters, but it adds into the mystery and suspense. The fictional narrative & characters fit seamlessly with the historical, and Mr. Hohlhagen masterfully paints the chaotic scene of the West during the Civil War. I myself am not that big of a Western reader, but I found myself really enjoying it. I really loved Lilly’s character. She was at the center of the con job and was content to play everyone. However, she didn’t count on falling for Damours.
Overall, I highly recommend the book. With the multiple genres, it has something for everyone. I look forward to reading his other book, Tiger Found, and any future publications. The book is available in both hardcover and paperback on Amazon. You can also find about more about other books by Steve Kohlhagen by visiting his website, as well as on Goodreads, Twitter & Facebook.
I received the above mentioned book for free to help facilitate my review.