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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553579177, Mass Market Paperback)Spirit Sickness marks the return of Bureau of Indian Affairs investigator Emmett Quanah Parker, a Comanche, and FBI special agent Anna Turnipseed, a Modoc, who first pooled their investigative talents in Cry Dance. Anna is recovering from a vicious attack and dreads returning to the field; Emmett, however, will do whatever he can to lure her back to active duty. When the bodies of tribal patrolman Bert Knoki and his wife are found in a fire-gutted police cruiser in a remote wash on the Navajo reservation, Emmett seizes the opportunity to request Anna's help. As the investigation unfolds, the agents find themselves questioning the dead cop's integrity, delving into a gritty world of poverty and prostitution (just what was Knoki doing visiting a Utah cult in the company of a hooker?), and confronting the eerie legacy of Navajo myth.
That myth centers around the figure of the Gila Monster, said to cure sickness with his trembling paw and to be charged with redeeming the sins of the first Indians by destroying them. Emmett and Anna, who have long sublimated their traditional upbringing to a more rational modernism, must struggle with a madman who has woven his insanity into the myth of the Gila Monster, creating his own reality--and his own very real victims.
The novel is workmanlike, rather than inspired. Although press releases have touted Kirk Mitchell as a threat to Tony Hillerman's supremacy in rendering the lives, secrets, and crimes of the Native American Southwest, Mitchell has yet to approach Hillerman's delicacy of touch and effortless integration of native culture into crime narratives. Mitchell's references to Navajo myth seem ponderous, distant, and irrelevant to the unfolding action. The same complaint might be made of the onerous distraction that is the subplot of romantic attraction between Parker and Turnipseed. If the reader is utterly unable to detect any hint of sexual tension between the two, one wonders why they spend so much energy--and so many pages--fretting about it. --Kelly Flynn
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:34 -0400)
Investigator Emmett Quanah Parker teams up with FBI special Agent Anna Turnipseed to solve the murder of a tribal patrolman and his wife.
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