Once and FBI agent, Ella Clah is now a Special Investigator with the Navajo Police. She walks a tightrope between the Navajo and white worlds, fully accepted by neither but needed by both. Ella's brother, Clifford, a hataali or medicine man, says that her investigative skills are a gift from the spirits who guard and guide the Dineh, but Ella insists it's her FBI training that has honed her instincts.
Ella's life is about to change in ways she can barely begin to imagine--she is newly pregnant, and though she knows who the father is, she will not marry him. In Navajo society, her child will be of her clan, and will be accepted by her family, no matter what--but how can she stay a police officer, exposing herself and her unborn child to terrible danger day after day?
Given her current caseload, it's hard for Ella to put off making a final decision about her career. There's a near-riot at LabKote, a factory on the Reservation that produces high-quality vessels for medical labs. The Fierce Ones, an activist group of Navajo, are insisting that more native workers be hired by the firm--including a Navajo replacement for a manager recently found dead in his car, an apparent suicide. A sniper shoots at Ella as she drives to another crime scene--the home of State Senator James Yellowhair, who has been kidnapped.
Feuding between traditionalist and modernist elements in the Navajo nation heats up with sabotage, vandalism, and murder, spurred by a rise in birth defects among the Dineh's livestock and rustling of sheep and cattle. Ella's personal concerns mount when officers investigating a break-in at the health clinic discover that the records of several pregnant women--including Ella--are missing. Then one of the pregnant women is murdered....
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About the Author
Aimée Thurlo is co-author of the Ella Clah series, the Lee Nez series of Navajo vampire mysteries, and the Sister Agatha novels. Her other works, co-written with her husband, David, include Plant Them Deep, a novel featuring Rose Destea, the mother of Ella Clah, and The Spirit Line, a young adult novel. Aimée, a native of Cuba, lived in the US for many years. She died in 2014.
David Thurlo, is co-author of the Ella Clah series, the Lee Nez series of Navajo vampire mysteries, and the Sister Agatha novels. His other works, co-written with his wife Aimée, include Plant Them Deep, a novel featuring Rose Destea, the mother of Ella Clah, and The Spirit Line, a young adult novel.
David was raised on the Navajo Reservation and taught school there until his recent retirement. He lives in Corrales, New Mexico, and often makes appearances at area bookstores.
What People are Saying About This
"Mystery readers who like their murders solved by applied intelligence will love Ella Clah." Tony Hillerman
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have read most of the Ella Clah series, including some that come after this one. All have been excellent and read by both my husband and myself. I am only halfway through, but am thoroughly put off by the baby this, baby that, ad nauseum. I do not think I will suggest that my husband bother with this one. The Thurlo team are very good at providing lots of insight into the Navaho culture, but this is not one of their better efforts.
As a big fan of Tony Hillerman, I was extremely excited about new mysteries from the Four Corners region. I was extremely disappointed by this effort. The dialogue is poorly written, the storyline tedious, and, unlike Hillerman, many of the numerous subplots have no bearing on the conclusion. The ending lacks credulity, and the characters are thin and stereotypical. Buy this book only in paperback or as a special from a Mystery book club.
Former FBI agent Ella Clah works as a special investigator on the Navaho Indian Reservation, New Mexico. Ella¿s world turns upside down when she learns she is pregnant from a man she cares for but has no intention of marrying. At the same time Ella struggles with her personal dilemma, the reservation becomes a battleground between the traditionalists and the progressives. Someone is slaughtering animals raised using modern Anglo methods. The evidence points towards the traditionalists committing the animal killings, which increases the animosity and the schism between the two groups. An Anglo owned business that leases reservation land becomes the scene of a murder that appears to be the work of an angry traditionalist or two. Professionals break into the medical clinic and steal the records of pregnant women. Ella investigates all the happenings leading to her becoming a target. She uses her Anglo training and her Native American mystical intuition to uncover the identity of the killer. Readers who enjoy Tony Hillerman¿s mysteries will relish the enthralling SHOOTING CHANT. Aimee and David Thurlo show their writing talents as they provide a close look at the efforts of Native American traditionalists to preserve the culture in the modern world. The numerous subplots cleverly tie together with Ella¿s pregnancy adding a special touch that humanizes the intrepid law enforcement official. The audience will look forward to future tales while first time readers will search for the previous novels. Harriet Klausner