Spirit Sickness

( 1 )


In the tradition of Tony Hillerman and Joseph Wambaugh comes this suspense thriller reuniting Bureau of Indian Affairs Criminal Investigator Emmett Quanah Parker and FBI Special Agent Anna Turnipseed, two Native American cops torn between their heritage and the law.

A fire-gutted police cruiser found in a remote part of the Navajo reservation bears witness to a horrific crime: inside are the bodies of a tribal patrolman and his wife. As BIA Investigator Emmett Parker and FBI ...

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In the tradition of Tony Hillerman and Joseph Wambaugh comes this suspense thriller reuniting Bureau of Indian Affairs Criminal Investigator Emmett Quanah Parker and FBI Special Agent Anna Turnipseed, two Native American cops torn between their heritage and the law.

A fire-gutted police cruiser found in a remote part of the Navajo reservation bears witness to a horrific crime: inside are the bodies of a tribal patrolman and his wife. As BIA Investigator Emmett Parker and FBI Special Agent Anna Turnipseed know, a cop's murder is never simple, raising countless questions and suspicions.

When another murder is discovered, the case explodes into an otherworldly realm. Both Parker, a Comanche, and Turnipseed, a Modoc, are well acquainted with the eerie shadowland between native myth and modern homicide investigation. Now they will have to touch minds with a murderer who has woven personal madness with Navajo myth to create his own reality -- and with it the need to kill and kill again.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Intriguing ... Mitchell makes the most of Navajo mythology and the landscape of the Southwest."
-- Chicago Tribune

"Darker, grittier, and more satisfying than Hillerman's work ... Spirit Sickness reads fast, runs true, and keeps you guessing."
-- Weekly Alibi, Albuquerque

Don't miss the powerful debut of Emmett Quanah Parker and Anna Turnipseed:

Cry Dance

Available wherever Bantam Books are sold

And coming soon in hardcover from Bantam Books:

Ancient Ones

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
This "vividly descriptive" and "tightly written thriller" set in the Southwest desert, tells the story of two Native American cops and a ritual murder that "brings a great array of characters together in a thrilling ending." Kept readers "on the edge of their seats." "A must-read for whodunit fans." "Too predictable," said dissenters, who also called it "confusing," and cited "the abrupt ending."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his second suspense novel featuring unseasoned FBI Special Agent Anna Turnipseed and relentless Bureau of Indian Affairs Investigator Emmett Parker (after Cry Dance), Mitchell pulls out all the stops. Emmett persuades Anna, a fellow Native American, to join him on a case in the Navaho Reservation's Four Corners area. The ritualistic murders of a tribal policeman, Bert Knoki, and his wife, Aurelia, lead the investigators on a serpentine path. As they tear around Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, Anna and Emmett fight their mutual attraction, but their bickering can't disguise the compassion they feel for each other. All Mitchell's complex characters are haunted by the past; the detectives arrive at the solution by first examining Southwestern history, then forcing the truth out of suspects and witnesses. One wonders how Anna and Emmett are able to continue their physically wounding and emotionally grueling work on hardly any sleep--but, after all, this is fiction. Comparison with Tony Hillerman is inevitable, due to the locale and Mitchell's Hillermanesque blending of Native American myth and practices with themes that emphasize the hard life of contemporary Indians. But Mitchell's novels are more violent than Hillerman's, his killers more emotionally tortured, his detectives far more damaged in body and soul. Shifting the location of each book should help Mitchell, a powerful writer of deep emotions, breathtaking natural beauty and nail-biting suspense, to step into his own spotlight. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
As in Cry Dance (LJ 3/1/99), Mitchell once again combines the Indian lore and Southwest landscape of a Tony Hillerman mystery with the gruesome ghoulishness of a Thomas Harris thriller--not always successfully. When the bodies of a Navajo patrolman and his wife are discovered in a burned-out police cruiser, Bureau of Indian Affairs Investigator Emmett Parker, a Cherokee, and Anna Turnipseed, his half-Modoc, half-Japanese FBI partner, are called in to investigate, leading them on the trail of a serial killer obsessed with a particular Navajo myth. What they discover in their hunt is a legacy of spirit sickness--alcoholism, fetal alcohol syndrome, incest, poverty, child abuse--that results in several more brutal murders. Mitchell, a former law enforcement officer who patrolled reservations in California's Inyo County, knows Native American culture very well and accurately portrays the grim realities of reservation life. But his book bogs down in an overly convoluted plot with too many red herrings, and his switching points of views from Parker and Turnipseed to the killer doesn't always work. For larger mystery collections.--Wilda Williams, "Library Journal" Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
A suspense novel that jogs along after Tony Hillerman—and stumbles. Because the higher-ups have decided that a spousal-ed program is good p.r., Navajo cop Hank Knoki has been driving around accompanied by the missus. But when both are found shot to death in their burned-out car, the complexities just keep on coming. Attempting to cope with all of them are Bureau of Indian Affairs investigator Emmett Parker and FBI Special Agent Anna Turnipseed, reunited for their second adventure (Cry Dance, 1999, etc.). He's half-Comanche, she half-Modoc, and together they form a Native American sleuthing pair that with a less hypercomplicated load might have sustained interest. But the plot overwhelms them. Before reaching denouement, it takes Parker-Turnipseed through incest, homosexuality, drug trafficking, squabbling between tribes, squabbling between bureaucrats, squabbling between teenaged gangs, obsession, madness, serial killing, and other staples in the potboiling tradition. Interlarded is the unrelieved sexual tension between the protagonists that has its roots in romantic love. He adores her, she adores him, but the path between them is obligatorily rocky, twisty, hard to negotiate. Several near-death experiences—most suffered by poor Anna—do serve, however, to bring them closer together. By the violent, predictable, and welcome end, the maniacal Gila Monster, a.k.a. Lizard Man, acknowledged god of a Native American gang called the Vipers, is identified and suitably dealt with. Having set the stage for the ritual of "Blood Atonement"—aimed at achieving both justice and revenge—GM is hoist by his own mythic rite. Marshall's a pretty good writer, and ifhecan take it down a decibel or two—in Hillerman country it's called restraint—good things might develop for this series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553579178
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/3/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 633,265
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 11.04 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Kirk Mitchell is a veteran of law enforcement in Indian country. An Edgar Award nominee for a previous novel, he lives in the Sierra Nevada of California.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Native American mystery

    <P>After her last case, FBI Special Agent Anna Turnipseed is placed on convalescent leave. The Indian is unsure whether she can return to her field job. The legendary Bureau of Indians Affair Investigator Emmett Parker worked with Anna on that investigation that has left her so shook up. Emmett wants Anna to join him on future cases although he hates her department, writing them off as bunglers. <P>In Window Rock, Arizona located on the Navaho Reservation, a police officer and his wife are found cooked to death inside a police car. Parker is assigned the case and pushes Anna into working with him on the task force. Although afraid, Anna accepts the assignment and accompanies Emmett to the sight of the double homicide. In the background, the Gila Monster, a human using the form of a Navaho myth, plans to eradicate more cops before going after his final targets. <P>Fans of Tony Hillerman and the Thurlos will want to read SPIRIT SICKNESS, a thriller that captures the cultural identity of the Navaho Nation. Kirk Mitchell is a talented storyteller who creates characters that seem real though not particularly likable. The subplots bring the main story line together with no lose threads, remarkable as that seems, because this compelling tale is rich with sidebars. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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