Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Black Thunder-Aimee & David Thurlo

Black Thunder

Aimee & David Thurlo

Forge, Oct 25 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765324511

A construction crew works on the Navaho Reservation until one of the team hits something solid with a shovel. He digs a bit deeper only to find a human hand. The Navaho cops led by Tribal Police Investigators Ella Clah and her partner Justine Goodluck take charge of the area. There they find a male human corpse with two bullets in the back of the victim’s head, execution style.

A further analysis of the Hogback gravesite vicinity uncovers graves of two men and a woman, but one of them just outside the reservation making that homicide’s jurisdiction belonging to San Juan County, Sheriff’s Department. Ella, Justine and FBI agent Dwayne Blalock work together on the multiple jurisdiction murder case starting with learning who the three John Doe’s and the Jane Doe are before they can figure out the connecting why. As the Fierce Ones member of her tribe demand justice now while also threatening Ella and Justine, the medical examiner reports the murders occurred a year apart from each other while a potential young witness needs protection.

The latest Ella Clah Navaho police procedural (see Never-Ending-Snake) is a super whodunit enhanced by events in the heroine’s personal life while inside the overarching theme of the conflict between Navaho culture tradition vs. modernization. The whodunit is a complex case made more difficult by the multijurisdictional case between cooperating law enforcement, the Fierce Ones screaming for vigilante justice and the time span of the homicides. Ella also contends with her boyfriend Reverend Ford Tome who is being transferred and wants her and her daughter to come with him and her teenage daughter Dawn is starting to rebel while her mom Rose displays signs of something disturbing her but refuses to talk about.

Harriet Klausner

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