Lost Bird 05

Margaret Coel, Author
Margaret Coel, Author Berkley Publishing Group $21.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-17059-5
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Fr. John O'Malley and attorney Vicky Holden solve a mystery and wrestle with their mutual--and forbidden--attraction in another suspenseful outing (after The Story Teller, 1998). When his elderly assistant is killed on a back road on the Wind River Arapaho Reservation in Wyoming, Father John assumes that he himself was the target, since the dead man was driving his truck and had just stepped out of it when he was shot. Soon, however, he learns that the frail old priest, who once held Father John's current post as head of the St. Francis Mission, came back to the reservation to expose a long-buried crime against the Arapaho people. When Holden, an Arapaho lawyer, hears that a priest has been murdered, she fears the worst, since Sonny Red Wolf, an angry Indian separatist, has often vowed to drive Father John off the reservation. After Holden finds Father John alive, she embarks on her own investigation of the murder. Meanwhile, movie star Sharon David hires Holden to trace her true lineage; she is convinced she was born to Arapaho parents on the reservation and given away for adoption. Holden repeats the local legend--that many Arapaho babies died of a mysterious sickness around the time of Sharon David's birth, so no Arapaho would let a baby go. Probing, however, she uncovers a plot involving a clinic and a famous pediatrician, while Father John, converging on the same plot, confronts the killer. Like many mystery writers working on Native American ground, Coel knows that the gaps between cultures are fertile ground for suspense. She also develops solid characters and a keen sense of place that keep this tale humming. Author tour. (Nov.)
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