Blackening Song - Ella Clah Author:Aimee Thurlo, David Thurlo Blackening Song is the debut of Navajo FBI agent Ella Clah, who returns to the reservation to investigate the murder of her father, a minister. The ritual nature of the killing makes Ella's brother, a medicine man, the prime suspect. Without cooperation from the tribe, the FBI, or the local police, Ella must plumb the depths of the stru... more »ggle between traditionalist and modernist forces among the Navajo to find her father's murderer.« less
Outstanding first book in the Ella Clah series. The book introduces LA FBI agent Ella, her Hataalii brother Clifford, mother Rose and close friend Wilson Joe. All of these characters show up in later volumes of the series. Ella returns home to the Navajo reservation in northern New Mexico to find the murderer of her Christian preacher father. Her brother Clifford is the prime suspect and is hiding from the authorities. Ella finds tension between traditional Navajos and modernist Navajos and is drawn into the machinations of the sinister faction in the Navajo Way that call themselves skinwalkers--people who deal in death and evil. These skinwalkers are intent on destroying her entire family. The treatment of native Navajo practices and role the evil skinwalkers play in Navajo life is handled sensatively by the authors. Ella's investigation moves quickly and the action builds to the epic battle between the forces of good and the skinwalkers at the end of the book. Although each book in the series stands on its own, this first volume is important to read to fully understand the role Navajo beliefs play in Ella's life and the cases she undertakes. The background to the special intuitive powers possessed by members of her family is also presented in this first book.