Excess upon excess as an Ojibwe girl endures horrific abuse at a Catholic boarding school. Ruby Loonfoot is outspoken and rebellious-and a target for the wrath of the stern nuns and priests in charge of St. Nicholas's in 1957. Their sadistic treatment of the other Indian girls enrages her: A sick child is beaten with a studded metal strap for refusing to eat the morning gruel-and then is forced to eat her own vomit. A handsome young priest picks his victims carefully, and pretty little Katie is his favorite: he fondles and then rapes her, all the while reassuring her that God loves her despite her sinful nature. Her own mother, a devout Catholic, isn't likely to believe any of this, Ruby knows-so she tells kind Sister Stephanie, who takes pen in hand to advise the bishop, not knowing that the young priest is the bishop's nephew. Then two Indian girls die in a blizzard while attempting to escape, though a perfunctory investigation by government officials reveals nothing out of order. Ruby is permitted to return to the rez for a powwow and a coming-of-age ceremony planned by her beloved grandmother, but once back at the school, Ruby discovers that Sister Stephanie has been fired and the vicious abuse hasn't stopped. Her protests get her strapped into the school's latest disciplinary device, a crudely made electric chair. While forced to shriek Hail Marys as penance, she endures shock after shock under the watchful eyes of the nastiest nuns. When the girls finally riot, a fatherly local cop comes to the rescue. Strong stuff, badly written: a hardcover debut from second-novelist Riddle.