J. D. Daugherty is a private eye from Tulsa, and he’s been hired to locate a missing man in the rough town of Anadarko, a small bootlegger’s paradise in Kiowa country in Oklahoma. He travels to Anadarko with his assistant, Hoolie Smith, a Cherokee, and together they set out to discover where Frank Shotz has gone. What they find is a town at war, with factions drawing sides with the county sheriff and the town’s police chief, all for control of the illegal hooch flooding the town and the nearby Indian lands. As J. D. digs into Anadarko, he is asked by a local restaurant owner and her ally, the weak-kneed mayor, to start a war between the sheriff and police chief. Just as J. D. gets his plan rolling, he is called back to Tulsa to search for a missing girl. Hoolie is left to solve the case, and he does so with the help of a Kiowa chief, his son, and a few members of the tribe. Back in Tulsa, J. D. enlists the help of a prominent family and is able to find the missing girl.
Anadarko is a novel that highlights the horrors of 1920s racism and bigotry in the American Midwest. From the KKK running illegal liquor, to abducting black children, Holm delves deep into the darker side of American history. For that, this is a good book. My issue is that J. D.’s character felt completely useless to the overall plots. Hoolie solves the Anadarko case, and, for the most part, the “Tulsa operation” is resolved without J. D.’s input. Also, the “Tulsa operation” is tied to Holm’s first book, which I didn’t read, and it left me a little confused. Because of these, I found the book hard to read.
Review originally appeared https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/anadarko-a-kiowa-country-mystery/