The Shaman's Game

James D. Doss, Author
James D. Doss, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (370p) ISBN 978-0-380-97425-2
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
For the Ute Indians of southwestern Colorado, the Sun Dance is a quest for healing and connection with the higher power. It is also a physically punishing ritual. When three people die during two dances, tribal police officer Charlie Moon (in the fourth captivating book of this exceptional series, after The Shaman's Bones, 1997) can't quite accept the verdicts of natural causes. Moon's aunt, elderly shaman Daisy Perika, dreams that the victims were targets of a witch. A lovely but frail young Ute woman, Delly Sands, recently returned to the reservation and working for the tribal newspaper, thinks that her reporting will unmask the witch. When Delly herself is wounded in an attack with a weapon that has powerful tribal symbolism, Moon must take Aunt Daisy's warning more seriously. The old shaman determines to expose the witch on her own, a ""game"" that could cause more deaths. As in the previous Shaman stories, Doss skillfully navigates the tricky terrain between fact and fable, as Moon balances clear-eyed cop logic with timeless tribal beliefs that can make their own reality. The Sun Dance scenes are spellbinding, rendered with powerful conviction and knowledgeable respect. (Aug.)