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Book Review: Rites and Wrongs


The events in this book literally takes place in a week, and two days. Ruiz Pascal, a Sante Fe detective goes beyond and above call of duty, even crossing lines of professionalism. A whirlwind of events blow pranks and well intentioned interferences out of proportion, attracting attention from San Felipe Tribal and the Feds. At the end of the Holy Week, events unravel in ways no one could predict from earlier on the week.


Holly Harrison has been a writer all her life, but spelling never came easy for her. She came to New Mexico to attend graduate school but soon became enamored with the land and its people. Now retired from the University of New Mexico, she devotes herself full-time to writing mystery novels set in the state’s multicultural landscape. She lives near Al-buquerque’s Old Town with her husband and two Scottish terriers.

Holly Harrison


  • Violence
  • Police unprofessionalism
  • Breach of health care code of conduct
  • Swearing/offensive words
  • Use of drugs


  • My favourite character has to be Detective Ruiz Pascal, which I expected as he is the main character. Ruiz Pascal is portrayed in such a way that allows us to see the depth of his humanity; the boredom, determination, and stupidity, as well as the surprise of being judged by the book.
  • The story kept me on my toes, and nothing was what I expected it to be. While the story didn’t unfold in a shocking way, the events were still unexpected but I felt eased into it.
  • One of my favourite parts of the book has to be Steg being caught by Feds, he thought he was smart, ha! Concerning scenes with sexual mentions, I thought were handled with grace. In general, the book didn’t provoke little, if any intense emotions from me, I rather felt “what next?” or “what the?”. I kept anticipating the turn of events, I wasn’t disappointment!


  • I was perplexed by the ending, it didn’t end on a dreamy note (I think that was the intention) and the ending thought of “Who wants to be a detective anyway?” by Ruiz felt flat, and provoked zero emotions from me.
  • I found it difficult to invest in the lives so the character, especially the side characters, they felt underdeveloped and dropped as quickly as they were introduced. In my opinion, this was caused by the presence of too many characters to take note of, who in the end weren’t really relevant to the story told.
  • The representation of Native Americans in this book was really, really poor. While Native American representation was not the theme of the book, it’s still disheartening.

As for many natives, the ability to run came second nature

Page 157, Rites and Wrongs

Although Ortiz experienced pain like most people, his heritage enabled him to mentally block it out.

Page 166, Rites and Wrongs

Montiaño shot Ruiz a cold stare. “Not likely, Ortiz is an Indian. He could easily slip away, disappear, make his way back to the pueblo on foot.”

Page 196, Rites and Wrongs


Altogether, there was the bad, the good and the emotionless for me concerning this book. Holly Harrison is an amazing writer, I hope she continues writing and takes cultural sensitivity into better consideration next time.

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