In Margaret Coel's latest Wind River Reservation mystery, Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O'Malley find themselves immersed in the dark underbelly of the illegal market for Indian relics.
The Arapahos call it "The Drowning Man" - an ancient petroglyph depicting the haunting image of a human figure struggling under water. A priceless artifact to the tribe, the sacred object is worth a quarter of a million dollars to the thieves who took it.
After receiving the ransom demand, Father John is determined to uncover the identity of the culprits and recover the petroglyph. The theft is nearly identical to an unsolved seven-year-old case involving another stolen petroglyph - and manslaughter. Vicky joins Father John to piece together the events of the past seven years. But their quest will put them in the path of a relentless killer who will stop at nothing to remain unknown.
At the start of bestseller Coel's appealing 12th mystery (after 2005's Eye of the Wolf), the people of Wyoming's Wind River Reservation are devastated when an ancient petroglyph, the Drowning Man, vanishes from a wall of sacred Red Cliff Canyon. An Indian messenger tells Fr. John O'Malley, the pastor of St. Francis Mission, to inform the Shoshones and Arapahos they must pay a $250,000 ransom for the rock art, which was chiseled off the wall. Father John obliges, but also alerts the FBI. Meanwhile, attorney Vicky Holden decides to represent Travis Birdsong, who's serving time for killing his alleged partner in a glyph theft seven years earlier. Enraged locals, who believe Travis didn't get a fair trial, want Vicky's firm to concentrate on keeping a logging company from desecrating Red Cliff Canyon. Father John's conflicted feelings for Vicky, who's not sure she wants to stay with her partner, Adam Lone Eagle, and the arrival of a retired pedophile priest at the mission help keep the emotional temperature high. (Sept.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 04, 2006
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