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Girl Gone Missing - Preorder

“Against the landscape of a 1970s college town, the disappearance of a classmate draws Cash into a web of dreams, deceit and danger. In Girl Gone Missing, Cash grows in maturity to a young woman tough and resourceful, generous of spirit, protective, and courageous. A wonderful read, heart-stopping, heartrending and heartening, often all at the same time.”
- Linda LeGarde Grover, author of The Road Back to Sweetgrass, 
Publishers Weekly
"Rendon's refreshing sequel to 2017's Murder on the Red River...When [Cash] hears about a missing coed, she contacts [Sheriff] Wheaton. Since they previously worked together successfully on a murder, Wheaton trusts Cash’s sharp instincts and asks for her help in solving the case...Rendon, herself a member of the White Earth Anishinabe Nation, highlights the plight of Native Americans who were forcibly adopted by whites and Cash’s discomfort in a land that is and is not hers. Readers will look forward to Cash’s next outing."
"In Rendon’s refreshing sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Red River, 19-year-old Renee “Cash” Blackbear is a freshman at Minnesota’s Moorhead State College, thanks to her friend and mentor, Sheriff Dave Wheaton. The whip-smart member of the Anishinabe nation tests out of her English and science classes, which allows her time to earn money driving trucks and beating cocky white guys at the pool table playing eight-ball. When she hears about a missing coed, she contacts Wheaton. Since they previously worked together successfully on a murder, Wheaton trusts Cash’s sharp instincts and asks for her help in solving the case. The disappearance of a second student raises the ante. Cash must rely on her grit and determination to avoid a similar fate. Rendon, herself a member of the White Earth Anishinabe Nation, highlights the plight of Native Americans who were forcibly adopted by whites and Cash’s discomfort in a land that is and is not hers. Readers will look forward to Cash’s next outing."
- March 1, 2019  Visit Website
Kirkus Reviews
"In her second outing, Cash Blackbear goes off to college and finds herself embroiled in the mystery of a missing classmate.'I'm not used to folks treating me like I'm stupid,' says Cash. But Moorhead State is another world, one slow to disclose the secrets of its initiated."
In her second outing, Cash Blackbear goes off to college and finds herself embroiled in the mystery of a missing classmate."I'm not used to folks treating me like I'm stupid," says Cash. But Moorhead State is another world, one slow to disclose the secrets of its initiated. When Cash (Murder on the Red River, 2017) attends a meeting called by the guidance counselor, Mrs. Kills Horses, to launch a new college chapter of the Indian Studies Association, the other students who turn out seem to be on another planet. When she wants to test out of her entry-level English class because the simple assignments bore her, professor LeRoy, the department chair, acts as if she can't be serious. The activities most congenial to her—picking farmer Milt's sugar beets and loading them on a truck, shooting pool at Shorty Nelson's bar, drinking beer with her married ex-lover, Jim Jenson, smoking a million cigarettes—are all things she did long before she arrived at Moorhead State. Not even the request by Sheriff Dave Wheaton, who plucked the 3-year-old Cash from the wreck that killed her mother, to speak with the parents of vanished classmate Janet Tweed seems to lead anywhere. Only the unheralded return of Mo, the brother she'd long since forgotten, from his stint as an Army medic to Cash's place, where he promptly installs himself, awakens much of a response, and it's one that's not entirely positive. Nothing will get Cash's engines revving, it seems, but being snatched and imprisoned along with Janet and half a dozen other cheerleader types. Unfurling her secret weapons—the ability to take a beating and a dead-eyed determination to be accountable to no one but herself—she methodically plans an escape that will be capped by Mo's remark: "What'd I tell you? White slavery."The furious intensity of the heroine's simmering energy overshadows most of the cast. It's a particularly nice touch, though, that the kidnapper, once identified, is never seen again, vanishing as completely as last week's trash.
- April 14, 2019 
Grand Rapids Herald-Review
"I won’t recount the terror, the drama, and the bravery of what follows. You can read the book yourself.The ending, I’ll just say, is deeply satisfying.
Rendon has been working for years in the prisons with women who are incarcerated for prostitution, soliciting, and other offenses. Teaching them to tell their stories and access their inner writing voice. She’s able to convey the savagery of the system, what it does to women and their families, how deeply it is connected to poverty, and how it reaches into white rural and suburban areas as well as communities of color."
In this, the second Cash Blackbear mystery, Marcie Rendon serves up her Native woman protagonist’s experiences as an older student in a largely white college. In probing the sudden disappearance of a woman student, she introduces us to the seamier side of recruitment into prostitution.

This story, like her first, “Murder on the Red River,” unfolds from within the farm fields of northwestern Minnesota and North Dakota, where Cash earns her income by driving sugar beets to the processing plant.

“The air smelled of river mud and sugar beets mashed under truck tires. One would think it would be a syrupy, sugary smell, but it was more like stale cabbage.”

Her truck driving punctuates her challenges at Moorhead State College, where she’s enrolled as an older student. It’s the early 1970s, and Cash finds college a strange place. The people “talk a lot, but mostly about nothing.” She’s used to “men who knew what kind of fertilizer to put on a corn field...or when to spread manure on the plowed fields. And always, the price of grain on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.” In contrast, the men on campus “talk about books, authors, ideas…but often veer off into anti-war discussions or debates about civil rights.”

Cash does well at Moorhead State. She has “uncanny recall ability. She could pull up a page in her science book in her mind’s eye and re-read it from memory. Likewise, she could pull up a day or an event and run it across a screen in her mind as if it were happening in the present time.” At the school, she hears about a white girl gone missing, someone in her English class. And later, another. Her brother, Mo, whom she hasn’t seen for years, turns up and moves in with her for the month. He’s back from ‘Nam. He educates her about the sex trade there and in cities like Minneapolis.

Meanwhile, her English professor, LeRoy, invites her to Minneapolis to receive a writing award. With mixed feelings, she accepts, thinking she might search for the missing girls there and insisting on driving her own car. Slipping away from her Macalester college room, she drives downtown to surveil for prostitutes, spotting them on the streets. But suddenly, LeRoy shows up, convincing her to drive with him to a professor’s house. The next thing she knows, she wakes up in a locked room full of frightened and very young white women, trafficked.

I won’t recount the terror, the drama, and the bravery of what follows. You can read the book yourself. The ending, I’ll just say, is deeply satisfying.

Rendon has been working for years in the prisons with women who are incarcerated for prostitution, soliciting, and other offenses. Teaching them to tell their stories and access their inner writing voice. She’s able to convey the savagery of the system, what it does to women and their families, how deeply it is connected to poverty, and how it reaches into white rural and suburban areas as well as communities of color. If you’d like to read a summary of what researchers have learned about white slavery, here’s a helpful source: https://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/24/the-new-white-slave-trade/

Meanwhile, I encourage you to order or pick up “Girl Gone Missing,” and if you haven’t read it, the predecessor, “Murder on the Red River.”
- Ann Markusen, April 20, 2019  Visit Website
The Durango Telegraph
"Rendon is a natural storyteller and a consummate writer, and we’re indebted to Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso for bringing the unforgettable Cash Blackbear to life. There isn’t a protagonist in recent fiction with the bearing of Rendon’s creation, and we’re the better for knowing her."
We’ll be under the radar with today’s “Murder Ink” book. But I’m counting on loyal readers to delight in finding the undiscovered treasure all adventurers know is waiting in plain sight, where few find themselves or are too snow-blind to see.
Girl Gone Missing is the unworthy title of an absolutely stunning book of a sensible 224 pages written by Marcie Rendon about a young woman very much on her own in Fargo, N.D. She drinks Budweiser, smokes Marlboros, plays eight-ball and drives a beet truck when her freshman class schedule at Moorhead State College, across the Red River, permits. Her name is Cash Blackbear, and she is a 19-year-old Anishinabe Indian from the White Earth Reservation, where contemptible U.S. policy took infants from their families and remanded them into foster care with dubious white families. The misguided notion was the children would assimilate and lose their heathen ways. And how did that work out, you have to ask? Most children became indentured farm hands, many abused as slaves, and all cast adrift to live pitiably and die young of alcohol poisoning and the cognitive violence of disenfranchisement.
You might say that Cash got less unlucky in life. Sheriff Wheaton, of Norman County, pulled her from her mother’s wrecked car when she was 3 years old. She navigated foster care, and at 13 was working the beet fields, driving trucks and excelling at schoolwork. Although her real name is Renee, she made her way by working for cash, playing pool for cash and paying with cash – thus the Cash nickname. Despite her diminutive stature at 5’2,” she isn’t anyone’s fool and doesn’t have patience for surface runners. She handles the bars, fields and big diesels like the old-timers, who in turn respect her grit. Cash is stoical from living the life of a castoff child grown early to womanhood. In a different setting, she’d be prom queen, a trophy wife or tough lawyer, doctor or journalist. But here, she’s adrift by design gone rogue, with no plans beyond calling the eight ball in the corner pocket, choosing her pleasures and taking it as it comes.
Rendon is a natural storyteller and a consummate writer, and we’re indebted to Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso for bringing the unforgettable Cash Blackbear to life. There isn’t a protagonist in recent fiction with the bearing of Rendon’s creation, and we’re the better for knowing her. I don’t need to say anything more to support reading this book; you will be poorer for not having met Cash.
Now a few words about the cutting-edge story that’s as wrenching today as some hundred years ago. A story that creates this wonderful character of Cash Blackbear.
One of Cash’s classmates, a seductive blonde, goes missing. Then another. Cash’s estranged brother shows up from a stint in the Army and cracks through Cash’s carefully constructed barriers. He spreads out like the flu, talks jive and scares Cash with his American mime. These two grow ever so slightly into their shared genes, but Rendon makes him appear less then trustful, and we worry. He hears about the missing girls while Cash and Sheriff Wheaton are searching for clues in their jurisdiction. He knows, or says he knows, what happened. The girls have been lured into the sex trade. Outrageous, yes, but he says he knows because he served overseas, and he’s hip to that racket.
The meat of the story begins here, but the heart of the story is Cash Blackbear. It’s a $16 book, and with Maria’s Murder Ink 15 percent discount at Maria’s Bookshop, it’s the cost of a sandwich and coffee.
- Jeffrey Mannix, May 2, 2019  Visit Website
The Circle News
"Darn that Marcie Rendon but she did it again. She wrote another book featuring Renee “Cash” Blackbear which invariably led to non-stop, compulsive reading and thoughts about the 19-year-old protagonist...This is a good book. If you read it, block out uninterrupted time. It’s hard to put down."
"Darn that Marcie Rendon but she did it again. She wrote another book featuring Renee “Cash” Blackbear which invariably led to non-stop, compulsive reading and thoughts about the 19-year-old protagonist. Good grief. Like I don’t have other stuff to do.

This story, “Girl Gone Missing,” (available May 14) builds on Rendon’s “Murder on the Red River” which introduced the young Ojibwe woman who grew up in foster homes in northwestern Minnesota.
The newest book builds nicely on the first, giving detail on Cash’s life as well as the life of her mentor and perhaps only friend, Dave Wheaton, the local sheriff. Wheaton, aware of Cash’s intelligence and talent, encouraged her to enroll in college at Moorhead State. Classes start, and a female student in Cash’s science class disappears from school and the community. Some speculate that the girl ran off, a rumor her parents deny. Cash starts having dreams that feature terrified young blond girls, calling for help.
Then Cash learns of another girl’s disappearance, and later finds herself in the Twin Cities to accept a writing award. Ultimately she encounters a small group of disappeared girls, and works for their release. It’s here in the last third of the book that the story starts racing and again, I worried about Cash’s fate.
Why? Because Rendon has a keen ability to bring a character alive on the page and make you care about what happens to her or him. You care because if you know any young American Indian women, you’ll recognize one of them in this character. There’s a universality to Cash. Then there’s this. Maybe you’ll care about Cash due to hope that as the underdog, she will win against all odds.

Suggest to Cash that she’s an underdog, however, and you’ll get her characteristic blank stare and a look away. Her preservation instincts are finely honed, and she doesn’t give away much of herself. She has spent a lifetime separating what is real and worth bothering with from what is not. Cash would flip off a suggestion of weakness, and work the system to her advantage. For example, she learned that students can test out of classes. So, after years of self-directed study, she takes the exams and tests out. She learns early on that she can win money as a pool shark. So she practices until her reputation with a pool cue precedes her in every river town bar with a pool table. On the surface, should she deign to let you know her, Cash is calculating, smart and tough.

She’s also entirely human. “Girl Gone Missing” introduces us to a vulnerable Cash who misses an American Indian boyfriend involved with the American Indian Movement, and involved with his other girlfriends. Throughout the book Cash drinks a lot of beer, popping Buds with every opportunity and burning through cartons of cigarettes. Often it is only through nicotine or alcohol that Cash calms herself, a false balm that surely must backfire with time. After such a hard start in life, Cash needs hope. We’ll see what Rendon does with Cash’s addictions in later books.

Also, you have to wonder now and then about her diet of tuna sandwiches and jelly Bismarck pastries – when she remembers to eat at all. Cash’s days are long, and start with college classes followed by driving a truck through farm fields during the beet harvest, and then wind down at the local smoke-filled bar with a couple of Buds and a pool table. Cash! Listen up! Eat better! Sleep, for crying out loud. Put down the beer and preserve your many brain cells. The world needs smart, brave Indian women who can walk in both worlds and live long lives.

What Cash needs and seeks approval from is her protector and father-figure, Sheriff Dave Wheaton. He is the one person she can count on. She tells him what happened during her Twin Cities visit, leaving out the worst parts. Because the sheriff is a man of integrity and fairness, we can hope in a later book that he brings the perps to justice.

Then there’s the brother, who like a few real life Indian brothers, shows up, makes an impression and then one day leaves without warning. As young children, Cash’s two siblings were also placed in foster care, and she had no idea where they were. “Mo,” a Vietnam vet with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, shows up at Cash’s efficiency apartment one night. A thoughtful guest, he makes a big breakfast every morning, cleans the apartment, and wins big at the bar pool tables at night. Mo is even better at the table than Cash. He turns out to be a shrewd and instinctive collaborator, and then goes away. Poof. No Mo no more.

The subtext to all of this is the true account of how foster care tore up Minnesota Indian families in the 1960s. “Girl Gone Missing” describes the disappearance of several white girls in small town Minnesota, but statewide hundreds of Indian children were removed from their families for reasons as flimsy as poverty. That ugly chapter of state history could be called “Children Gone Missing,” a chapter repeated at the southern border of the U.S. right now.
I digress.

This is a good book. If you read it, block out uninterrupted time. It’s hard to put down."
- Deborah Locke, May 3, 2019  Visit Website
Buzzfeed
"The vivid writing and keen eye keep the pages turning and readers hoping for another book in this series."
"A sequel to her 2017 debut Murder on the Red River, Marcie Rendon’s Girl Gone Missing draws her protagonist into a web of dreams and deceit. Issued by Cinco Puntos — a press with roots on the US–Mexico border, which has a strong reputation for surfacing Chicano, Latinx, and Native voices — Rendon’s second book in this series follows 19-year-old Cash. An Ojibwe woman who has lived all her life in Fargo, she has just one friend: a cop.

Cash as a heroine is tough and complicated, but Rendon avoids the trope of a girl making good against odds. Cash is who she is. The vivid writing and keen eye keep the pages turning and readers hoping for another book in this series."
- Wendy J. Fox, May 8, 2019  Visit Website
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Rendon, an enrolled member of the White Earth Anishinabe Nation who lives in Minneapolis, has created a forceful vehicle in Cash’s character as a reminder of a painful history."
"Renee Blackbear is a regular at the bars and pool halls that line the streets of Fargo-Moorhead as well as the farm towns along the Red River. She chain-smokes and downs beers while hustling pool and avoiding her unchallenging college classes at Moorhead State. For extra cash, she drives a beet truck late at night, hauling farmers’ crops as they’re dug from the rich earth of the Red River Valley.

It’s the only life she knows. It’s all she’s ever known. And she’s just 19.

Renee goes by the name Cash, a school-of-hard-knocks nickname that suits her just fine. Cash is a product of neglect, an Anishinabe native raised by an alcoholic mother who died in a car wreck when Cash was very young. She spent her youth in a series of abusive foster homes that used Indian kids as farmhands and domestic help in exchange for a cold, bare room and a change of clothes. She has known little love and has hardened herself against affection and hope for any future outside the river valley that is her home.

In Marcie R. Rendon’s acclaimed debut of Cash’s story, “Murder on the Red River” (2017), Cash had ­gotten out of the foster system with the help of the good-hearted Sheriff Wheaton, the lawman who years earlier pulled her out of the wreck that killed her mother. He became a friend and a benefactor, getting Cash set up in an apartment. To keep her out of trouble, he began taking her along on patrols.

He discovered that Cash had spiritual visions that spring from her American Indian roots — visions that helped the sheriff piece together crimes.

And now in the second book of the series, “Girl Gone Missing,” Cash is enrolled at Moorhead State. But she finds herself bored by too-simple academics and the mundane lives of her fellow students. That is, until girls start going missing. First it’s the tall blonde in one of Cash’s classes. Then a farm girl from down the way.

Her visions of these girls calling for her help lead in a serendipitous way to Cash’s first trip out of the valley and to the Twin Cities, where she gets entangled in a plot too strange and dark to fathom. Sinister things are happening at the hands of people in authority, and Cash soon finds herself trapped with other girls and fighting for her life.

Rendon, an enrolled member of the White Earth Anishinabe Nation who lives in Minneapolis, has created a forceful vehicle in Cash’s character as a reminder of a painful history. “From 1819 to 1934,” she writes in her author’s note, “Native children were systematically removed from families and put into boarding schools. There they grew up like prisoners of war, punished for speaking their languages. … 115 years of children not seeing a mom and dad raise children.”

Cash’s story is set in the 1970s amid the Vietnam War and the rise of the American Indian Movement, but before the Indian Child Welfare Act, the first federal attempt to keep orphaned or abandoned kids in tribal communities. Rendon chose this time frame as a traumatic chapter in countless young Indians’ lives, wrenched from their culture.

Yet it isn’t far separated from today’s headlines playing out on the Mexico border, with thousands of abandoned children still without their parents after the brutal “zero tolerance” separations, and caravans of Central American families struggling to stay together. It’s a rough reminder of how far we still have to go."
- Ginny Greene, May 7, 2019  Visit Website

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