Ghost Medicine

Aimee and David Thurlo
Aimee and David Thurlo. Forge, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-46680-785-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7653-3405-3
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-7653-3403-9
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The fascinating world of the Navajo Nation provides the backdrop for the Thurlos’ 17th Ella Clah mystery (after 2011’s Black Thunder). Tribal special investigator Ella faces a case that’s not a straightforward homicide, but rather a murder wrapped in a web of cultural taboos. The body of the victim, Harry Ute, a former tribal cop turned PI, is found mutilated as if by skinwalkers, much-feared witches in Navajo culture. Ella and her colleagues, including county investigator Det. Dan Nez, can’t be sure whether the killer is a skinwalker or merely pretending to be one in order to tap into residents’ fears. After a slow beginning, both the action and the police work pick up, despite some clunky passages that focus on backstory at the expense of narrative pace. But, as interesting as the Navajo culture depicted is, to read this book is to mourn once again the death of Tony Hillerman. Agent: Peter Rubie, Fine Print Literary Management. (Nov.)
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