It’s 1970, and on the Windy Creek Reservation in South Dakota, amidst the rise of AIM in neighboring Pine Ridge, a baby boy appears nestled in a box of Styrofoam peanuts on the doorstep of St. Rose Catholic Church. His appearance disrupts the predictable, lonely life of longtime reservation priest Father Joe Kreitzer. The child, whom they name Bear, finds refuge under the care of Father Joe’s closest friend and ally, Alice Nighthawk.

Thirteen years pass without event, when Alice’s older son, Albert, is mysteriously murdered outside a bar in Rapid City, and Bear is accused of attempting to kill the only person who knows what happened that night. At the same time, Father Joe receives a letter from a person from his past, the only woman who made him question the path of priesthood. She has reached out to Father Joe as one of the few who might help her.

To keep Bear’s case from federal prosecution, Father Joe and Alice begin a search for Bear’s long-lost mother. But their journey unearths more than they bargained for, plunging Father Joe into a labyrinth of secrets and revelations. He is forced not only to confront the choices he’s made and the secrets he keeps, but also to see the truth of the lives of the people around him.

High Hawk is a rich tapestry of love and history, delving into the delicate intricacies of the past and the redemptive power of second chances. Through evocative prose, the lives of those on the fringes of American culture come alive, navigating adversity and forging connections against all odds.

High Hawk is evocative and haunting. I didn’t want to put it down, despite the loneliness of it—a kind of beautiful, desolate, at times cold and very snowy loneliness, windblown and stark. Light and sky figure heavily, the horizon and a longing for some kind of place in the order of things. For connection, truth, but most of all for a way of belonging in the world. There’s a sense of the complexity of life but also of it getting away from you; of looking back at moments you let pass you by. It is a beautiful meditation on silence and speaking, passivity and action; and on parents, and love, and the fragility of our ability to protect our children—the way that’s amplified in some communities’ lives by compounding circumstances. High Hawk leaves us with no easy answers, but feeling as though we’ve just listened to a keening, plaintive song that carries over the prairie as dusk falls.”—Arianne Zwartjes, author, These Dark Skies, Reckoning with Identity, Violence, and Power from Abroad

"In High Hawk, author Amy Frykholm delivers a beautiful blend of the simple and the profound in a story of self-discovery and reckoning. The gorgeously-rendered small-town Midwest setting and nuanced characters are a perfect fit for fans of William Kent Krueger."—Amy Pease, author, Northwoods

"High Hawk is, at one of its hearts, a tale of two improbable love stories—one between a mother and son and another between two long separated friends. Spare and lyrical, Amy Frykholm somehow conjures entire worlds—both interior and exterior—from a few dozen words. The landscape she lays out in front of us holds deep meaning and heartbreaking secrets. The exquisitely constructed ending is one of the most poignant and satisfying I have read in years.”—Cara Wall, author, The Dearly Beloved, a Read with Jenna pick

High Hawk starts out small, quiet, stark—with a child left on the doorstep of a Catholic priest on a South Dakota reservation in 1970—but then, with a grace as delicate and as natural as a feather, it rises above its specific place, its specific time, and soars over a windy liminal landscape, becoming a universal story of faith and free will, of community and authority, of different kinds of love, and of difficult moral choices: when to obey and when to break away, when to punish and when to forgive, when to reveal the truth and when to keep the silence. And the silence is not the same silence, for some silences corrupt and others heal, and the choices are rarely black and white—yet always the choices matter. The subtle compassion of the narrative put me in mind of the classic by Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest, but Frykholm’s voice is all her own. Read it, and it will linger in your mind for days.”—Olga Grushin, author, Forty Rooms

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Publication Details

Publication Date
242 pages
Trim size
5.5 x 8.5 inches