Wild Penance

Sandi Ault, Author . Berkley Prime Crime $24.95 (297p) ISBN 978-0-425-23232-3

When Jamaica Wild, a Bureau of Land Management agent in Taos, N.M., sees a body on a cross tossed off the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge at the start of Ault's chilling but uneven fourth Wild mystery (after 2009's Wild Sorrow ), it appears to be the work of the Penitentes, a religious sect that practices penance through re-enactments of Christ's suffering. Several months earlier, Jamaica spoke about the sect with Fr. Ignacio Medina, to whom she'd shown her sketchbook devoted to the Penitentes, which later is mysteriously stolen. In one unlikely scene, a set of stage lights falls on a lingerie model in a local charity fashion show. The circumstances suggest the culprit intended to kill Jamaica, who was filling in for another model. Forest ranger Kerry Reed lends romantic interest, while medicine woman Momma Anna Santana helps Jamaica grow spiritually. Disturbing discoveries about the secretive Penitentes' past provide the cowgirl sleuth with her strangest challenge to date. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/21/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
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