The Lost Bird (Wind River Reservation Series #5)

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Father O'Malley and Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden must uncover a baby-selling scheme at a clinic forty years ago.

"Suspenseful...Solid characters and a keen sense of place...keep this tale humming." —Publishers Weekly

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Father O'Malley and Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden must uncover a baby-selling scheme at a clinic forty years ago.

"Suspenseful...Solid characters and a keen sense of place...keep this tale humming." —Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fr. John O'Malley and attorney Vicky Holden solve a mystery and wrestle with their mutual--and forbidden--attraction in another suspenseful outing (after The Story Teller, 1998). When his elderly assistant is killed on a back road on the Wind River Arapaho Reservation in Wyoming, Father John assumes that he himself was the target, since the dead man was driving his truck and had just stepped out of it when he was shot. Soon, however, he learns that the frail old priest, who once held Father John's current post as head of the St. Francis Mission, came back to the reservation to expose a long-buried crime against the Arapaho people. When Holden, an Arapaho lawyer, hears that a priest has been murdered, she fears the worst, since Sonny Red Wolf, an angry Indian separatist, has often vowed to drive Father John off the reservation. After Holden finds Father John alive, she embarks on her own investigation of the murder. Meanwhile, movie star Sharon David hires Holden to trace her true lineage; she is convinced she was born to Arapaho parents on the reservation and given away for adoption. Holden repeats the local legend--that many Arapaho babies died of a mysterious sickness around the time of Sharon David's birth, so no Arapaho would let a baby go. Probing, however, she uncovers a plot involving a clinic and a famous pediatrician, while Father John, converging on the same plot, confronts the killer. Like many mystery writers working on Native American ground, Coel knows that the gaps between cultures are fertile ground for suspense. She also develops solid characters and a keen sense of place that keep this tale humming. Author tour. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Coel's series of mysteries take place on an Arapaho Indian Reservation, with the priest at St. Francis Mission teaming up with a local Native American attorney, Vicky Holden, to investigate the crimes. These two have a close, caring relationship, fraught with tension. The author has frequently been compared with Tony Hillerman as two outsiders who understand the Native Americans they write about. This particular mystery has special appeal to YAs, I believe, because it is about adoption—in this case, illegal adoptions in which Indian babies were placed with white families and the babies' parents were told that their babies had died. The "lost birds" are now in their 20s and 30s, and one, a Hollywood movie star, has the money to hire an investigator to uncover her biological heritage, which gets Vicky involved. The search frightens those who perpetrated this crime a generation ago, and murder soon follows. Good reading for mystery fans. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Berkley, 294p, 18cm, $6.50. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; November 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 6)
Kirkus Reviews
It's an awful moment for Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden as the fifth in this Hillermanesque series (The Story Teller, 1998, etc.) gets underway. According to a radio bulletin, a priest from Wyoming's St. Francis Mission to the Wind River Indian Reservation has been shot to death. Vicky (nee Singing Bird) is certain the victim is Father John O'Malley, the mission pastor, with whom she's secretly but desperately in love. (He's secretly desperate, too.) Turns out, to her immense relief, that 70-ish Father Joseph, not hunkish Father John, was driving the mission pick-up. At first, Vicky—like everyone else, including Father John—assumes death by mistaken identity. He must have been the intended target, Father Joseph simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. After all, Father Joseph had been at the mission a bare three weeks. Who could have worked up enough murderous hate for him in that short a period? But when Vicky learns that 35 years ago Father Joseph did a previous mission stint, she's forced to rethink. Mysterious things happened then—an inexplicable rise in Native American infant mortality, a couple of suspicious suicides—that seem connected to the mysterious things happening now. Vicky and Father John conduct separate but equal investigations. In the end, of course, rampaging villainy is brought to justice, and rambunctious passion kept in check. Tune in next time. Father O'Malley and Vicky hold their own as characters, but the mystery itself lacks substance, and Coel really needs to polish her action scenes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425170304
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Series: Wind River Reservation Series, #5
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 190,369
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Coel

Margaret Coel is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of The Thunder Keeper, The Spirit Woman, The Lost Bird, The Story Teller, The Dream Stalker, The Ghost Walker, The Eagle Catcher, and several works of nonfiction. She has also authored many articles on the people and places of the American West. Her work has won national and regional awards. Her first John O'Malley mystery, The Eagle Catcher, was a national bestseller, garnering excellent reviews from the Denver Post, Tony Hillerman, Jean Hager, Loren D. Estleman, Stephen White, Earlene Fowler, Ann Ripley and other top writers in the field. A native of Colorado, she resides in Boulder.

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