an Ella Clah Novel
by Aimee & David Thurlo
Forge, $15.99, 320pp
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Ella Clah, Special Investigator for the Navajo Tribal Police, is back in her 17th book. Due to budget cuts and a changing political climate, Ella begins revising her plans for her future. Due of her understanding of and ability to handle traditional Navajo culture and beliefs, as well as her skills in dealing with modern issues, Ella is valued as an officer and as a private citizen. Several options are available: Will she retire? Accept a promotion to train the next generation of tribal police? Or work for her friend as a part-time private investigator?
But then, Harry Ute, a former police officer turned private investigator is found murdered in his truck with his thumbs cut off, Ella and her partner Justine are first on the scene. During the investigation, Ella meets several suspicious people who may, or may not, be involved in this murder. She uncovers other illegal activity such as stolen county property (including guns) being sold on the internet and illegal digging and sale of cultural artifacts. As Ella and Justine could be getting close to the answer, someone tries to firebomb their vehicle. Even worse, they begin finding disinterred copses with body parts removed and dead animals hanging from roadside fences -- trademarks of Skinwalkers who are believed by the Navajo to have the ability to turn into any animal and curse you and your family with death.
Although some reference is made to Ella’s past, this book stands very well on its own. Peppered with Navajo words and phrases, this mystery kept me riveted and I couldn't stop reading until the case was solved! ~~ Marie Davis