The Shaman's Bones (Charlie Moon Series #3)

The Shaman's Bones (Charlie Moon Series #3)

4.0 15
by James D. Doss
     
 

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A women of the Tohono O'otam tribe has been savagely -- and ritually -- murdered in Wyoming, outside the jurisdictions of Granite Creek, Colorado, Police Chief Scott Parris and Ute tribal policeman Charlie Moon. But a brutal, unprovoked assault by the suspected killer on one of Parris's detectives -- and the dark, unsettling visions of Charlie's shaman aunt, Daisy

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Overview

A women of the Tohono O'otam tribe has been savagely -- and ritually -- murdered in Wyoming, outside the jurisdictions of Granite Creek, Colorado, Police Chief Scott Parris and Ute tribal policeman Charlie Moon. But a brutal, unprovoked assault by the suspected killer on one of Parris's detectives -- and the dark, unsettling visions of Charlie's shaman aunt, Daisy Perika -- are pulling two dedicated lawmen and an aging Native American mystic into the hunt.

Daisy's dreams of raining blood tell her that more will die. Despite the healthy skepticism of his good friend Moon, Parris is inclined to heed the shaman's dire warnings. But the trail of a murderer is leading them all to perilous and unexpected places, where secrets of past betrayals and treacherous tribal politics are buried, and where the pursuit of a stolen Power has turned some men greedy and hungry. . .and deadly.

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
This is Hillerman country...but Doss is gaining...I hope these shaman activities go on for a long time.
Denver Post
Fans of Tony Hillerman's Navajo mysteries will find a new home here.
NY Times Book Review
Haunting.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When aged Ute shaman Daisy Perika has a vision of blood raining from the sky, it means trouble for her nephew, tribal policeman Charlie Moon, and his friend Scott Parris, police chief of Granite City, Colo. In their third compelling adventure (after The Shaman Sings and The Shaman Laughs), Charlie and Scott find themselves hunting Daisy's nephew, Provo Frank, who passed a bad check in Wyoming and brutally attacked a young cop. The two soon learn that Frank had visited another aging Ute shaman, Blue Cup, who tells them that Frank stole sacred items from their secluded hiding place. When Frank's wife, Mary, is found murdered, the search takes on new urgency. On the run from police and Blue Cup, Frank leaves his little daughter, Sarah, with Daisy. The child may know something, but she turns silent after being kidnapped for a few hours by an unknown man. Doss again creates a fascinating mix of gritty police work, the spiritual traditions of Southwestern Indians and irresistible characters. There's a nice twist on stereotypes, as the white man, Scott, often seems more closely attuned than Charlie to the Ute mysticism that surrounds their investigation. Despite all the spiritual trimmings, however, Doss writes a mystery that can be solved with logic, unlesslike Charlie and Scottthe reader misses a critical, cleverly planted clue. A worthy addition to a richly rewarding series. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Even though Ute police officer Charlie Moon's elderly aunt, a well-known visionary and shaman, warns him of impending violence on the Colorado reservation, he is ill prepared for what happens. Events begin with an Indian's bad check but escalate to child abandonment, a vicious attack on a female police trainee, murder, and the theft of another shaman's sacred objects. Doss uses setting and atmosphere to heighten the mystical aspects of his subject and astute characterization to enforce its credibility. A successful, sophisticated, and vibrant third from the author of The Shaman Laughs (St. Martin's, 1995) and The Shaman Sings (LJ 5/1/95).
Kirkus Reviews
Third in a much praised series (The Shaman Laughs, 1995, etc.), set in the canyons, mesas, small towns, and tribal reservations of the Southwest. Daisy Perika, an aged shaman and aunt of Ute Reservation policeman Charlie Moon, has had a vision of evil to come—and it's not long before Charlie and Scott Parris, chief of Colorado's Granite Creek police, have teamed up again to solve the grisly murder of Mary Frank, her body found near the City Limits Motel in Wyoming. Mary's husband Provo is the obvious suspect, having driven away from the motel with Sarah, their five- year-old daughter and then soon after leaving the girl with Moon's Aunt Daisy, also related to Provo. It later develops that Provo had stolen an object of great value from Blue Cup, another elderly shaman—a recluse now seeking to recover his lost treasure, aided by deaf acolyte Noah Dancing Crow. The body count begins to climb with the death of Wyoming patrolman Harry MacFie, and complications escalate with an investigation into the Pynk Garter Saloon, next to the motel, and its proprietor Lizzie Pynk. There will be more deaths before the not-so-long-ago roots of the mayhem are revealed.

Sporadic action interspersed with the prayers and dire prophecies of the shamans; long, lyrical passages on weather and scenery; and details of meals wolfed down by Charlie Moon and others. For some readers, a fascinating look at a rich, fading culture; for others, an indigestible hodge-podge with far too many disparate ingredients.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061863943
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Charlie Moon Series , #3
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
63,520
File size:
438 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Southern Ute Reservation
At the mouth of Canon del Espiritu

The golden eye closes softly . . . day's farewell is a sly wink on the horizon.

Now it begins.

Upon the crests of barren mesas, shadow-streams flow slowly over the amber sands. With all the stealth of serpents, these dismal currents slip silently over basalt boulders, slither among clusters of yucca spears . . . one darkling reaches out with velvet fingers to stroke the gaunt limbs of a dwarf oak; another paints ghostly images on a cracked wall of stone.

This is but a prelude to true night, when black tides spill over towering cliffs to flood the deep channels of meandering canyons. The oldest among the People whisper tales of serpentine creatures that swim in these ebony rivers—the elders chant guttural, monotone hymns to keep these dark spirits at bay.

A powdery blue mist swirls about the squat figures sitting on the summit of Three Sisters Mesa. The sandstone sisters bow their heads under the stars . . . and sigh . . . and sleep an eternal sleep.

But not everyone rests so well on this night. Sleep—if it can be called sleep—comes with shivers and groans. Dreams—if they can be called dreams envoke shifting, amorphous shapes . . . muttering, mocking voices . . . pale, gaunt hands that beckon. And on occasion—cold fingers caress the dreamers and bring them gasping from their almost-sleep.

These dreadful apparitions are, of course, delusions. Images inspired by unhealthy imaginations . . . by troublesome bits of food that lie undigested in the gut. They are twilight's lies . . . wicked tricks played by shadows . . . midnight's hollow deceptions. They are merefantasies.

Except . . . when they are not.

Daisy Perika has eaten a delicious bowl of greasy posole on this particular evening, and now a growling stomach interferes with her need for rest. While a tilted cusp of moon drifts across a crystalline sky, the Ute woman rolls over in her little bed, and groans. Daisy is not awake; neither does she sleep. The old shaman drifts in that chartless sea that separates this land of ordinary consciousness from that distant shore of honest slumber.

Though her eyes are closed, she can see her surroundings with a terrible clarity. Troubling apparitions flit before the weary woman. Dreams. Half dreams.

And visions.

She stands alone on a flat, lifeless plain of flinty pebbles . . . under a mottled gray sky that knows neither moon nor star. There is a sudden rolling, rumbling of dark clouds that live and breathe . . . a crackling snap of bluish flame as thin fingers of lightning reach for her.

But it is not electric fire that touches the dreamer . . . a warm, heavy liquid rains from the sky, pelting her upturned face with a crimson pox. She licks a drop from her lips; it tastes of salt . . . she shudders and spits it from her mouth. Now the scarlet deluge is hail . . . it hammers on her head . . . and hands . . . and feet.

A rapping-tapping . . . a ringing-pinging . . .

She pleads to the Great Mysterious One to make it stop . . . the repellent shower subsides.

But now an abominable thing approaches the shaman . . . floating, twisting, tumbling in the tortured eddies of the night—like a rotten log caught in the current of a swift stream. It slows . . . hangs above her . . . suspended as if from invisible wires for the dreamer's close inspection. It is a dead thing. A blackened, frozen carcass . . . an eyeless corpse.

And this is only the beginning.

Copyright ) 1997 by James D. Doss

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Meet the Author

James D. Doss, recently retired from the technical staff of Los Alamos National Laboratory, now spends most of his time in a small cabin above Taos -- writing mystery fiction. He also travels to the fascinating locations where his stories take place, often camping in remote areas to absorb the impression of an Anasazi ruin, a deep canyon, an arid mesa, or a Sun Dance. His Shaman series includes The Shaman Sings, The Shaman Laughs, The Shaman's Bones, The Shaman's Game, The Night Visitor, and Grandmother Spider. The unusual plots are a mix of high technology and mysticism (Shaman Sings), bizarre animal mutilations (Shaman Laughs), theft of a sacred artifact (Shaman's Bones), an unprecedented form of murder and revenge at the Sun Dance (Shaman's Game), a most peculiar haunting followed by the discovery of an astonishing fossil (Night Visitor), and -- because a small girl has killed a spider without performing the prescribed ritual -- the appearance of a monstrous, murderous, eight-legged creature on the reservation (Grandmother Spider, of course!).

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Shaman's Bones (Charlie Moon Series #3) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
I like Tony Hillerman's Navajo mysteries, and I love the red-rock country of Southern Utah, so James Doss was a logical next author to read, and The Shaman's Bones was a good place to start. The Denver Post says Hillerman's fans will find a new home here. It's probably right. Doss's characters seem more actively mystical than Hillerman's, with dreams revealing hidden locations and spirit guides speaking in riddles. But there's a beautifully solid grounding in humor and everyday reality. Some delightfully convoluted conversations reward the reader with laugh-out-loud insights, even as chapters end with dark foreboding and foreshadowing. The characters bring and reveal their own different strengths and weaknesses, learning more about each other as the tale weaves on. A small child is left in the care of Charlie Moon's aunt; her mother and father seem to have disappeared. Meanwhile dark visions promise death and dismay, and a woman is murdered in very strange circumstances. Police Chief Scott Parris has his own reasons for listening carefully when the aunt warns of danger to come, and the scene is set. The novel is relatively long at 350 pages, and the list of characters likewise, but the story kept me eagerly reading, and the characters stayed clear and well-defined. The scenery plays its own part too, with beautiful descriptions and atmosphere. I was glad to find that there are many more Shaman mysteries by Doss, and I plan to look out for them.
Anonymous 18 days ago
I love mysteries. I love reading about cultures, history, the scenic outdoors. I had looked forward to this series, as it seemed it had it all. I have found it hard to follow, it seems a bit all over the place, with the story line appearing and disappearing. There seems to be a lot of descriptions that don't prove that interesting, and not enough attention to where the story is headed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Murder mysteries are what I read, and sometime I learn something new. Charlie Moon, his Aunt, and his best friend have created a new world that I will visit as long as James D. Doss writes about them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy these books,mostly his old Aunt Daisy.Don't know if his information about the Indian tribal things is real or not,but makes interesting reading. How many are there in this series? Would love to read them all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Huge Doss fan!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Tony Hillerman's works. This author has no idea on how to grab a reader and could not stand in the shadow of Mr. Hillermans little finger. I read the first 43 pages of this book and it was sensless drivel! Afte 43 pages he still had not established a story line. I deleted this book from my NOOK.