THE WITCH'S TONGUE: A Charlie Moon Mystery

James D. Doss, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-31742-3

With all the skill and timing of a master magician, Doss unfolds a meticulous plot laced with a delicious sense of humor and set against a vivid southern Colorado setting in his ninth novel (after 2003's Dead Soul ) to feature Ute tribal investigator Charlie Moon. A shrewd gambler with an eye for a pretty lady, Charlie is also a successful rancher and an astute businessman, which is bad news for bad guys and competitors. A series of seemingly unrelated episodes—a crude museum robbery, a fleeing Apache who attacks a police officer, a Ute who abandons his abused wife and disappears into mysterious Spirit Canyon—forms an intricate puzzle that confounds both the tribal police and the FBI. As usual, Charlie's feisty aunt, Daisy Perika, a shaman who melds native beliefs and Catholicism into an idiosyncratic blend, plays an important role. Longtime fans will welcome other familiar supporting cast members, as well as a new romantic interest in the person of an attractive FBI agent. One might quibble that the characters and dialogue occasionally exhibit a wit and polish more appropriate to musical comedy than ordinary discourse ("You are an uncommonly sly fellow, Mr. Moon—do you think you can get the copper's name out of me?"), but the sheer entertainment this amusing gem generates is more than enough to compensate for any artificiality. Agent, Richard Henshaw. (Sept. 22)

Reviewed on: 08/23/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 419 pages - 978-0-312-99108-1
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-0379-0
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