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Shooting Chant: An Ella Clah Novel
ISBN 0312870612 / 9780312870614 / 0-312-87061-2
Publisher Forge Books
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Former FBI agent, now special investigator with the Navajo Police, Ella Clah knows it's her police training, not the special gift of sensing she's supposed to have inherited from her clan ancestors, that accounts for her unease when troubling things begin happening on the reservation. Lab reports on pregnant women have been stolen from the health clinic, a Navajo guard at the LabKote factory has been murdered, and two native leaders have been kidnapped. The evidence points toward an activist Indian group known as the Fierce Ones, who have been protesting the deal that leaders made with the medical supply company that's on their land. Tensions are running high between the traditionalists and the moderns, the natives who want a return to the old ways and those who embrace the white man's technology to increase their crop yields and improve their brood animals. Not only is Ella stunned to learn that among the masked Fierce Ones is her beloved brother, a healer, but she's just discovered she's pregnant, by a tribal lawyer whose clan has been at odds with her own since the days of their ancestors.
This latest in the increasingly popular Ella Clah series (Death Walker, Bad Medicine, Enemy Way) packs enough action into one slim novel to satisfy readers used to the more cerebral novels of Tony Hillerman and others writing crime fiction featuring Native American heroes. Like them, the Thurlos put a lot of Indian lore into their books and focus on characters who struggle to live in two cultures but are never fully embraced by either. Ella Clah is a thoroughly modern career woman, but her loyalty to her heritage runs strong and deep, making for a richly explicated interior life that is more fully realized by the Thurlos than many of their peers in the genre. If you haven't met Ella before, her newest adventure will have you scrambling for her previous ones. This deft, fast-paced read pulses with danger and excitement on every page. --Jane Adams [via]