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Shutter

Shutter

by Ramona Emerson

Narrated by Charley Flyte

Unabridged — 8 hours, 53 minutes

Ramona Emerson
Shutter

Shutter

by Ramona Emerson

Narrated by Charley Flyte

Unabridged — 8 hours, 53 minutes

Ramona Emerson

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Overview

Rita Todacheene is a forensic photographer working for the Albuquerque police force. Her excellent skills have cracked many cases-she is almost supernaturally good at capturing details. In fact, Rita has been hiding a secret: she sees the
ghosts of crime victims who point her toward the clues that other investigators overlook.

As a lone portal to the living world for traumatized spirits, Rita is terrorized by nagging ghosts who won't let her sleep and who sabotage her personal life. Her taboo and psychologically harrowing ability was what drove her away from the
Navajo reservation, where she was raised by her grandmother. It has isolated her from friends and gotten her in trouble with the law.

And now it might be what gets her killed.

When Rita is sent to photograph the scene of a supposed suicide on a highway overpass, the furious, discombobulated ghost of the victim-who insists she was murdered-latches onto Rita, forcing her on a quest for revenge against her
killers, and Rita finds herself in the crosshairs of one of Albuquerque's most dangerous cartels. Written in sparkling, gruesome prose, Shutter is an explosive debut from one of crime fiction's most powerful new voices.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

05/23/2022

Rita Todacheene, the narrator of Emerson’s strong debut, has excelled at her job with the Albuquerque (N.Mex.) PD’s Crime Scene Specialist Unit for the past five years, exposing valuable clues through her meticulous photography. Flair and technical expertise aside, much of her success is due to a unique ability to communicate with the ghosts of crime victims. It’s a gift she discovered during childhood, but these unusual powers come at a price—her peculiar behavior and obsession with “imaginary friends” alienated her from her classmates and drove her out of her Navajo community. Ever since, damaged spirits, desperate for her help, plague her, pushing her to the edge of sanity and making her friends and colleagues question her psychological competence. After photographing a grisly highway suicide, she’s coerced into investigating members of the police force with connections to the victim and major players in a Mexican drug cartel, ultimately drawing her into a perilous quest for truth and justice. Rich, expressive prose matches the suspenseful storytelling. Only the predictable finale disappoints. Crime fiction fans will relish this keenly balanced paranormal page-turner and piquant coming-of-age yarn. (Aug.)

From the Publisher

Praise for Shutter

An ABA IndieNext Pick for August 2022
A PLA LibraryReads Pick for August 2022
A Publishers Weekly Editor's Top 10 Mystery for Fall

A CrimeReads Most Anticipated Crime Book of Summer


Shutter is utterly unputdownable. It is a haunting thriller, written with exquisite suspense, and filled to the brim with beautiful writing, through the lens of cameras and memory—an ode to photography, written across the landscapes of the Navajo Nation and cityscapes of New Mexico, about what it means to witness and capture death, be captured by it, told unflinchingly by an author who knows what she is doing on every page. It is fun, and funny, and chilling. This is a story that won’t let you go long after you finish, and you won’t want it to end even as you can’t stop reading to find out how it does.”
—Tommy Orange, author of There There

“Get ready for the next wave of Indigenous thrillers! Shutter is a soulful and mesmerizing exploration of the paranormal, set against the backdrop of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. Written in tough, edgy prose, this book grabs you by the shoulders and refuses to let you leave. Ramona Emerson is a welcome new voice in Native literature.”  
—David Heska Wanbli Weiden, author of Winter Counts

“Beautiful, imaginative prose with a sharp edge. Shutter is a powerful and supernatural debut. I've never seen a better rendering of gifts and power. This work understands the spirit world and how it does not relent until we bear witness. Ramona Emerson is a badass, propulsive, exacting and true storyteller.”
—Terese Mailhot, author of Heart Berries

“This debut, spellbinding, gritty and beautiful, laced with body parts, hauntings, humor, residential school trauma and a lot of bloody noses, is, in the end, the story of a young girl who fell in love with a camera, and followed that camera into a life. Layered, depth-plumbing, radically suspenseful, deeply felt, Shutter moves between making your blood run cold and warming your heart, so quickly, smoothly and stealthily you won’t know what hit you.”
—Pam Houston, author of
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

“In her thrilling debut, Shutter, Ramona Emerson allows us a glance into not just one world, but many. Bridging the divide between a grounded procedural mystery and a paranormal thriller, this novel is a feast for fans of both genres and brings us a protagonist we’ll want to visit again and again.”
—Stuart Neville, author of The Ghosts of Belfast

“Shutter is an extraordinary debut novel, a stunning mix of crime, character study, and the supernatural, told in propulsive prose against the landscape of the Navajo Nation. It’ll leave you gasping – and desperate to read what the author does next.”
—Neil Nyren, BookTrib

“This paranormal police procedural is unusual and multilayered, but what stands out is the gorgeously expressive and propulsive first-person storytelling, which is split between Rita’s present and her past. A former forensic photographer herself, the pictures Emerson paints with words are as vivid as they are brutal.”
—Oprah Daily

Shutter is impossible to classify, gorgeously written and ingeniously constructed. An indigenous crime scene photographer who hears the voices of the dead finds her careful existence shattered by the pleas of a murdered young woman to find her killer.”
—CrimeReads

“Taut as a bowstring.”
—Kittling Books

“This debut trilogy-starter showcases top-notch storytelling.”
—Booklist

“Emerson presents an indigenous coming-of-age story blending forensics and the supernatural with a haunted heroine facing relentless evil.”
—This is Horror

“Crime fiction fans will relish this keenly balanced paranormal page-turner and piquant coming-of-age yarn.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Emerson’s striking debut follows a Navajo police photographer almost literally to hell and back . . . A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal

06/01/2022

DEBUT The debut novel by New Mexico-based Diné filmmaker Emerson is an atmospheric, haunting thriller that spans genres and introduces a fascinating character. Rita Todacheene was raised by her grandmother in the Navajo Nation in the American Southwest, but she's since left the reservation and become a forensic photographer for the Albuquerque police. Rita is known for her skills as a photographer (she captures details in her shots that no one else can) but she also has a secret gift: Rita has been able to see ghosts since birth. This supernatural ability aids her forensic photography, as the ghosts of crime victims point her toward clues that investigators have overlooked, but it also wreaks havoc in her personal life. Then, on the scene of a suspected suicide, the victim's angry ghost tells Rita she's been murdered and demands revenge, which soon puts Rita's life in danger from a vicious cartel. Emerson's novel jumps between the present and moments in Rita's childhood and early adulthood, setting a menacing undertone that weaves through the pages. VERDICT The arid New Mexico landscape and Emerson's stark prose add layers of bone-chilling believability to the story. Fans of thrillers with supernatural elements will enjoy this great first novel.—Laura Hiatt

Kirkus Reviews

2022-05-11
Emerson’s striking debut follows a Navajo police photographer almost literally to hell and back.

Rita Todacheene sees dead people. Since most of her attempts to talk to someone about her special power while she was growing up on the reservation ended in disaster, she’s tried to keep it to herself during her five years with the Albuquerque Police Department. Her precarious peace is shattered by the death of Erma Singleton, manager of a bar owned by Matias Romero, her common-law husband. Although lazy Detective Martin Garcia has ruled that Erma fell from a highway bridge, her body shattered by the truck that hit her on the roadway below, Erma insists that she was pushed from the bridge. “Help me get back to my baby,” she tells Rita, “or I’ll make your life a living hell.” Since Rita, a civilian employee, has few resources for an investigation, Erma opens a portal that unleashes scores of ghosts on her, all clamoring for justice or mercy or a few words with the loved ones they left behind. The nightmare that propels Rita forward, from snapping photos of Judge Harrison Winters and his wife and children and dog, all shot dead in what Garcia calls a murder-suicide, to revelations that link both these deaths and Erma’s to the drug business of the Sinaloa cartel, is interleaved with repeated flashbacks that show the misfit Rita’s early years on her Navajo reservation and in her Catholic grade school as she struggles to come to terms with a gift that feels more like a curse. The appeal of the case as a series kickoff is matched by the challenges Emerson will face in pulling off any sequels.

A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940175407922
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 08/02/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews