When a young woman is found with her throat slit, Julie Collins is sure it's the same perpetrator who killed her Lakota half-brother and several other Native Americans over the past few years. So begins this cleverly written and intricate novel that hands out clues with a tight fist.

Collins is a secretary for the local police department but works part-time with Kevin Wells, a private investigator. They pull together on this case—he has leads beyond the scope of the local authorities—but find themselves with too many suspects, and Julie always in hot water. Often her perseverance pays off, but sometimes she gets beaten up for her trouble.

They question family members who reveal deep secrets about the deceased and acute bitterness toward the living. Consequently, tension builds. Nothing is bringing them closer to the murderer, and ideas appear to be running out.

This engrossing tale of murder and deceit—with its razor-sharp characterization and well-defined sense of place—delivers from beginning to end. (May, 302 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Donna M. Brown