WHITE SHELL WOMAN by James D. Doss
A CHARLIE MOON MYSTERY
William Morrow, 2002
Charlie Moon is retired from the Reservation Police but when murder strikes a beautiful Ute woman, he can't help being interested--especially when the tribal leaders ask him to return to work part time as a private investigator. Without the politics of the local police, he has an ideal situation--at least as far as work goes. As far as his ranch, his psychic aunt, and his love life go, things are not so great.
Legends of an ancient Anasazi treasure have haunted the Utes for years. Now someone is digging, disturbing the remains of buried Indians and the work of the archeologists trying to uncover the history of this region. Simply disturbing archeological sites is bad enough, but when one of the students is murdered, rumors start to spread about the ghosts of the Anasasi protecting their treasures and of a shape-shifter walking the ruins. Moon doesn't believe in shape-shifters--although his aunt certainly does. But when the uncle of the victim disappears leaving nothing but his clothes, his dentures, and a pile of ashes and bone chips, Moon is certain that the mystic forces his aunt can't leave alone are somehow involved.
Author James D. Doss (click here to see booksforabuck.com reviews of other novels by this author) combines a fine touch for characters (especially Moon's aunt), respect for the Native American heritage that makes up so critical an element in his stories, and pure adventure to deliver a fine light read. Charlie Moon is a sympathetic character now blessed with a ranch that can't make a nickle, a dog that steals anything he tries to eat, an aunt who can't help being cranky, and a girlfriend who seems to show up only at the worst possible moment.
Fans of the Charlie Moon series will definitely want to read this one. Tony Hillerman fans who haven't discovered Doss will be overjoyed by this addition to the short list of excellent authors writing Native American mystery.
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