White Shell Woman (Charlie Moon Mysteries)

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9780061031144: White Shell Woman (Charlie Moon Mysteries)

The two sandstone monoliths towering over the southern Colorado landscape are wrapped in ancient mystery. To the local tribes, they are the Twin War Gods, sons of the moon goddess, White Shell Woman. Legends tell of strange happenings in their shadows, of lost treasure and Anasazi blood sacrifice. But it is a much more recent history that troubles former Ute policeman-turned-rancher Charlie Moon, specifically the fresh corpse of a young Native American woman unearthed at an archaeological dig.

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About the Author:

James D. Doss, recently retired from the technical staff of Los Alamos National Laboratory, now spends most of his time in a small cabin above Taos -- writing mystery fiction. He also travels to the fascinating locations where his stories take place, often camping in remote areas to absorb the impression of an Anasazi ruin, a deep canyon, an arid mesa, or a Sun Dance. His Shaman series includes The Shaman Sings, The Shaman Laughs, The Shaman's Bones, The Shaman's Game, The Night Visitor, and Grandmother Spider. The unusual plots are a mix of high technology and mysticism ( Shaman Sings), bizarre animal mutilations ( Shaman Laughs), theft of a sacred artifact ( Shaman's Bones), an unprecedented form of murder and revenge at the Sun Dance ( Shaman's Game), a most peculiar haunting followed by the discovery of an astonishing fossil ( Night Visitor), and -- because a small girl has killed a spider without performing the prescribed ritual -- the appearance of a monstrous, murderous, eight-legged creature on the reservation ( Grandmother Spider, of course!).

From Publishers Weekly:

Early in Doss's seventh book (after 2001's Grandmother Spider) about former Ute policeman turned cattle rancher Charlie Moon, Charlie's old Aunt Daisy a tribal shaman and all-around tough cookie is being bored to tears by an equally elderly Navajo man who recounts a long story about the origins of two Southern Colorado landmarks, Chimney Rock and Companion Rock. "Daisy was familiar with the myths. The tales varied, depending on whether a Zuni, Hopi, Apache, or Navajo was doing the telling... Daisy groaned inwardly. Like most old men, this one liked to tell stories she had no particular interest in hearing." Sadly, many readers will be forced to agree with Daisy: despite Doss's deep knowledge of the environment and of Native American patterns of speech and thought, this may be one book too many about clashes between ancient and modern customs leading to loss of life. We've tramped over this ground before with Doss himself, with Tony Hillerman, with Margaret Coel and all the other literary anthropologists who created this new genre. Moon is still as tall and as charming to women as ever; his aunt's crusty exterior still covers genuine affection and a shrewd mind; but this tale of Anasazi ruins, of feuding academics, of grave robbery and murders to cover it up, carries a mythic familiarity that's hard to shake off or make interesting. (Jan. 1)Forecast: With Grandmother Spider, one of the weaker titles in the series, Doss's net sales went up 50% which suggests the mystery public's appetite for Native-American sleuths is far from sated. That Doss takes a light approach helps set him apart from the pack.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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James D. Doss
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