Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blood Memory - Margaret Coel

Blood Memory
Margaret Coel
Berkley Prime Crime


Perhaps because she was adopted as a small child and knows nothing of her family history, Catherine McLeod became an investigative reporter. Her job has seen her through a lot, including a recent divorce from a socially prominent Denver family. One evening, she notices a man following her through her supposedly safe neighborhood. Panicked, she calls on her friend, Maury, for help. When Maury arrives, the stranger pushes in behind him, a fight ensues, and the intruder shoots. Now Maury is in ICU, fighting for his life, and everyone around her is blaming Catherine for not calling the police instead of an unarmed, but well-meaning friend.

Catherine believes it was a random rapist, looking for a convenient target. The police and her editor at the paper believe it must be something more personal. Quite possibly something connected to one of her stories. To keep her safe, her ex-husband offers her the use of his family’s ranch house outside Denver. With some misgivings, Catherine moves in, but almost immediately, her attention is diverted by her current story.

The local Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes are filing claims with the government, asking for the return of their native lands, under a century-old treaty. Lands that now make up roughly one-third of the Colorado. This, despite the fact that the government settled with the tribes nearly forty years ago. Part of the story concerns an attack (the government’s version) masquerading as attempted genocide (the Native Americans’ version.) But all this may be just the tip of the iceberg. And there’s still a very determined assassin out there, waiting for the right moment to strike.

This novel begins a new series for the author, but retains much of what made her Wind River Reservation Mysteries (THE DROWING MAN, THE GIRL WITH BRAIDED HAIR) so involving. The characters are all deep and developed very well; the issues relevant. The history of the native peoples is included as an integral part of the story. The reader meets the assassin quite early on in the story, but knowing who he is and how he works takes nothing away from the suspense of discovering his motives, or when he’ll strike next. This is a fine novel and an excellent introduction to the author for new readers.

Rating: 8
September 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22345-1 (hardcover)


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