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She is 14 years old, small, thin, desperately poor, always cold, and always hungry. Her name is Sarah Frank, and she's a Ute-Papago orphan living in Tonapah Flats, UT, "on the lonely side of Big Lizard Ridge." Casually cared for with little love by her older cousin and with much disdain by her cousin's universally despised boyfriend, the teen barely registers any notice in the adult world outside of her dismal household-until she is accused of murder, assault, and theft. Then, despite considerable odds, little Sarah manages to vanish with a one-of-a-kind family heirloom. The richest and most sinister person in that part of Utah wants it, and wants it badly. The law is after the girl, and at least some of "the law" are operating outside of the parameters of their sworn duty. Although Sarah proves surprisingly resourceful, the cards are heavily stacked against her. Also looking for her are Charlie Moon, a part-time tribal investigator and full-time rancher; Moon's girlfriend, FBI Special Agent Lila Mae McTeague; and Moon's aunt, Ute shaman Daisy Perika. The latter's search is conducted more through dreams and visions than by more conventional means. In this 11th mystery in the series, Doss skillfully weaves a story full of suspense, humor, greed, and local color, with a few touches of mysticism. Teens will appreciate the fast pace and mounting tension, and are likely to identify with Sarah's struggles against an adult-dominated world.
—Robert SaundersonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
—The Denver Post
"Style, pathos, enthusiasm, and humor to spare."—Mystery Scene
"A clever plot…will keep readers turning the pages."—Publishers Weekly
"A potent brew of crime and Native American spirituality."—Booklist
Posted June 25, 2006
On the Southern Ute Reservation in Colorado, tribal Ute shaman Daisy Perika is concerned with what this nightmare has shown her as she feels she has seen a vision of the future, but cannot tie her dream to a date and time and the place is vague. Still she is worried about the young female waif whose hands are dripping blood while a man lies dying nearby. She informs her nephew, tribal investigator and rancher Charlie Moon, on his weekly visit what she envisioned. Charlie knows how accurate his beloved Aunt Daisy is, but does not have enough information to do anything. --- Raymond Oates introduces himself to Sarah Frank as a half brother of a friend before giving her a book as a present. Not long afterward Sheriff Popper sees Sarah holding a Louisville Slugger with blood on her hands as psychic Ben Silver lies nearby dying. Before Popper can act, someone else hits him with a bat. Charlie and FBI Special Agent Lila Mae McTeague investigate, but Sarah has vanished with someone else besides the cops trying to find her for the book she carries is a valuable heirloom. --- The intriguing investigation in the latest Charlie Moon mystery starts a bit later than usual as James D. Doss sets in motion the key players and the significant (to this tale) Ute mysticism before Ben is killed. At that venture, the story line switches into more of a rescue Sarah saga than a murder investigation though the two scenarios are linked and converge in a delightful climax. Though lacking the humor of SHADOW MAN, fans of the series will enjoy Charlie¿s¿ current caper as Aunt Daisy avoids I told you so, but makes it clear he is to rescue Sarah or face her wrath. --- Harriet Klausner
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Posted June 10, 2013
Posted July 11, 2010
When I picked up Stone Butterfly I had never heard of the author or his leading character, Charlie Moon. The novel was an engaging and fun introduction.
Moon is a Ute Indian and a lawman for the Southern Ute Tribe in SW Colorado, where he also owns a big ranch. His Aunt Daisy is an elder tribal shaman whose dreams are prescient but vague. When a distant cousin is accused of burglary and murder in a Utah town, and then disappears into thin air, Daisy knows things she can't tell and Charlie suspects things he cannot prove. Bribes, corruption, lies, and greed precipitate more deaths. But still the cousin is missing, along with a valuable heirloom.
The characters are interesting and unique, and presented with dry wit. There were surprising plot twists, glimpses of romance, chase scenes, and suspense. I liked this book.
Posted November 11, 2008
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Posted September 17, 2010
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