Mundania Press, 2008, $12.95
The wildfire is spreading rapidly down the Sierras threatening communities like Bear Creek. Resident Deputy Tempe Crabtree tries to insure everyone has been evacuated from the nearby foothills to the shelter run by her spouse Pastor Hutch Hutchison. However, firefighters prevent her from continuing near the home of half Tolowa Native American artist Vanessa Ainsworth.
Soon afterward, Tempe learns that a woman and dog died in the inferno near Vanessa’s home. However, bullets killed both of them. Detectives Richards and Morrison lead the investigation that is going nowhere as Vanessa’s former husband has an air tight alibi so the victim's ex boyfriend remains the top suspect. The cops scornfully send Tempe to Vanessa’s hometown of Crescent City where her cousin lives because they assume an Indian to Indian chat will get them information as Tempe is part Yanduchi. Though on a personal level the trip proves fruitful; on an investigative level it goes nowhere though she picks up two stalkers along the way. However, ever since CALLING THE DEAD awakened her skills, Vanessa’s spirit visits her. Tempe accompanied by Hutch continues to help the lead detectives, but her second trip is not well received as this the killer stalks her.
This is an exciting police procedural enhanced by a profound look at the historical atrocities towards Native Americans and the current bias of the lead detectives whose overt attitude makes it lucid that they need consideration of others training. The story line is fast-paced as Tempe works the case encouraged by the spirit of Vanessa, learns more about her heritage, and struggles with her relationship with Hutch.