Carole LaFavor’s Evil Dead Center

This is a review of Carole laFavor’s book, Evil Dead Center. laFavor was an Ojibwe two-spirit nurse, writer, and activist who led the struggle for indigenous people, especially women, suffering with AIDs to be recognized and given proper care. This 1997 novel was the second book in her Red Earth Series of mystery novels, which would never be completed due to her death from HIV/AIDs complications in 2011. The books were nearly lost to obscurity but received a second life when republished by the University of Minnesota Press in 2017, bringing to light her well-crafted stories for any fan of genre fiction. This review discusses the realisms laFavor brings to her novels, especially this one touching on themes of missing and murdered indigenous women, who are so often written off by police as accidental deaths from alcohol or drugs, and the policies encouraging the adoption of indigenous babies by white couples as a form of cultural genocide.

“This sense of the ancestral and spiritual is largely what informs Evil Dead Center as a work of Anishinaabe writing. It is a book that few could have composed with the degree of honesty and boldness that laFavor, herself a “two-spirit” political activist struggling for women’s rights who helped get healthcare and respect for Native people with HIV/AIDS, brings to this writing. Readers can easily see in Renee the tribal values and worldviews that were likely central to laFavor’s own understanding of herself as an Ojibwe.”