Navajo Police Special Investigator Ella Clah has a full plate when events concerning a controversial casino on the Reservation come to a head with the terrorist takeover of the Rez's coal mine and power plant and her young daughter's disappearance. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
The authors' seventh satisfying novel (after 2001's Red Mesa) about Navajo Police Special Investigator Ella Clah finds her Native American community wracked by internal divisions as well as besieged and bedeviled by deadly outside forces. On the Rez, the issue of gaming using casino money as a means of solving or alleviating financial woes has serious adherents on either side. But a nebulous pro-gaming faction is resorting to pressure tactics and may be behind a rash of vandalism ranging from merely annoying to life threatening. The unsolved acts of vandalism are undermining the Navajo Tribal Police, and as the severity of the acts increases to the level of terrorism, not only Ella but her family are under attack. To add to her troubles, an escaped prisoner with a grudge is gunning for her. In spite of its thriller-like plot, the authors manage to present a good look at the complexities of the gaming issue while maintaining the character-driven essence of the series. Changing Woman the creative feminine power at the center of Navajo beliefs is seen in three generations of Ella's family. Ella's mother, Rose, a traditionalist, begins to assert herself in tribal affairs in a fashion that Ella has never seen before. And her young daughter, Dawn, begins to manifest her nature in new ways. But it is Ella, balanced between mother and daughter, modernist and traditionalist, job and family, who remains the captivating focal point of this excellent series. (Mar. 20) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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March 31, 2010
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Excerpt from Changing Woman by Aimee Thurlo
ONE nbsp; nbsp; Yesterday’s “garbage bomb” and Charlie’s near-death had made the evening news, even on Albuquerque TV, and more video had aired of the burning Dumpster and shattered cinder-block wall than of Ella’s and Mary Lou’s success with Charlie. For some reason any event with fire footage usually made the lead story on the TV news. The photo that had run in the newspaper, unfortunately, was one showing her lying flat on her face with the burning trash in the background. Since the incident, she’d received thanks from Charlie and his family, but she’d also received four calls from the news people about the bomb. It would take a while before things died down. Now, alone in her bedroom, Ella sat at the small table that held her desktop computer and waited. She’d have to return to the police station soon, but the only way her contact, “Coyote,” ever surfaced was through her Internet provider. The bitterly cold January winds swept down the hillside behind her mother’s home, rattling dust and sand against the window. It was said that Wind carried news, but Wind had met its equal in this age of computers. Coyote’s information so far had been as good as gold, though all she really knew about him was that he was probably an undercover cop—federal, most likely. His knowledge of her background in the FBI and his use of certain terms all supported that theory. Hearing a soft bell tone, she glanced down at the screen and saw the instant message box. Coyote was on line. As she read the message, she reached over and hit the print command. The message would vanish from the screen the second she logged off, and there would be no record of it anywhere. It was now or never. Ella thought of the many times she’d tried to track down Coyote, despite his warnings not to try. She’d been discreet, but persistent. Yet, despite all the methods available to her, she’d turned up nothing. “Shimá, come eat,” Dawn said, using the Navajo word for “mother” her grandmother Rose had taught her. When Ella didn’t stand up right away, Dawn crawled up onto Ella’s lap. “Hi, sweetie.” Ella brushed a kiss on her daughter’s chubby little cheek as she typed a question for Coyote. If the past was any indication, unless she was fast, he’d log off before she even finished the sentence. “Go back to the kitchen and tell yourshimasání, your grandmother, that I’ll be there in one minute.” Ella smiled as her daughter scampered off. Rose wouldn’t allow Dawn to call her grandma. The Navajo equivalent was all she would accept. Ella leaned back in her garage sale captain’s chair and read Coyote’s message again as she waited for his reply. His warnings were always unsettling, and this time was no exception. * * * The petty crimes all over the Rez are being engineered to make the cops and tribal government look bad. They want politicians voted out and new people brought in who are more in favor of tribal gaming. * * * Ella stared at the clear-cut message. Coyote’s case was more involved than the happenings on the Navajo Nation. He was trying to find evidence against a group of Intertribal Native American activists he claimed were trying to gain control of gambling operations on tribal lands across the nation. Coyote believed theDinetahwas their main target now. But without more evidence she couldn’t do a thing. The question she’d typed was the same as always. What proof could he give her so she could act? But he hadn’t answered her and, now, he was off-line. Ella took the printout and placed it in a