The Thurlos' latest finds Ella Clah, a Navajo Police special investigator in New Mexico, looking into the murder of Jimmy Blacksheep, an Iraq war veteran who was the apparent victim of a carjacking. Jimmy's brother, police officer Samuel Blacksheep, vows to discover why his brother was killed so soon after the end of his tour of duty in Iraq.

But Ella doesn't trust Samuel -- in fact, she's convinced that the carjacking was staged to hide the true motive for Jimmy's murder, especially when she receives a packet that Jimmy mailed to her shortly before his death. Inside is a Navajo story Jimmy wrote in a code that, if translated, will likely uncover the truth behind his murder. Meanwhile, Ella faces her own personal trial when her daughter's father wants the girl to live at his house during the week and visit Ella only on weekends.

The Thurlos' latest is a suspenseful read. Ella is a charismatic, believable protagonist, and her quest to use old Navajo teachings in her everyday life makes her a character that readers will thoroughly enjoy. (Apr., 320 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick