First Line: I got there too late to save Jerome Santana.
We first meet Bureau of Land Management resource protection agent Jamaica Wild when she fails to save a man from a buffalo stampede. In short order, the leadership of the Tanoah Pueblo in New Mexico's high desert blames her for starting the stampede and for being on their land during Quiet Time when no visitors are allowed. Jamaica finds herself banned from the pueblo and suspended from her job. Something about Jerome Santana's death doesn't seem right to her and her integrity is at stake, so she decides to investigate.
Ault blends the legends and traditions of several Pueblo cultures to immerse the reader in a very different way of life and to give a very real sense of the high desert of New Mexico. The author also doesn't dodge the difficulties of many Native Americans in today's society:
"She already had her Becomes Woman ceremony and everything, where she had to grind corn for four days and everyone went from house to house singing her name. I went there for the ceremony, and I felt ashamed that there was no father there to sing for her. I missed my people then, and I felt like I lived in three worlds-- my home at Cochiti, my life here, and the modern world we have to live in now in order to survive. It's not easy when you have all that to deal with."
The cultural and physical settings are powerful. The pacing moves right along, and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing as to what's really going on, but it was the character of Jamaica Wild herself that grabbed me the most. Jamaica is no greenhorn at living in what can be a very hostile environment. She has caches of gasoline, water and food at various points throughout the land she patrols. She enjoys the company of people, but also values solitude. She's adopted a wolf pup she's named Mountain, and their relationship will ring true for any reader who's had a close connection with an extraordinary animal. An older woman in Tanoah Pueblo is Jamaica's mentor because she truly wants to learn the culture and traditions of the people with whom she works. No matter how strong the action and the plot, Jamaica and Mountain are the true draws of this book, and they are the reason why I'll be reading the other books in this series.
If you've enjoyed the mysteries of Nevada Barr and Tony Hillerman, I think the chances are excellent that you would enjoy this series, too.
Enjoyable and very interesting. Loaded with info on Pueblo culture. Good mystery and a quick read.
This is a very good first novel along the lines of a Tony Hillerman or James Doss book of the Southwest. The setting for her mystery is Tanoah Pueblo life and the conflict of cultures that exist. I will definitely look forward for more by this author!
similar to Kellerman novels about the goings on at tribal reservations.
I enjoyed this series very much, and look forward to the next in the series. The main character is a very interesting woman. Although the details about the native americans are not intended to be factual...due to their request for privacy, the thread of modern day impact on an ancient culture is compelling.
#1 Jamaica Wild mystery. Jamaica Wild is a resource protection agent for the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) in northern New Mexico. She's also sort of adopted a Pueblo Indian woman whom she calls Momma Anna as her surrogate mother, learning something of the Pueblo ways, which doesn't sit well with all the clan, as maintaining the secrets of the tribe is a big part of the tradition. Jamaica lives in a cabin in the middle of nowhere without a phone and with her wolf pup, Mountain.
When she witnesses what looks like a suicide--a young Pueblo man standing in the middle of a buffalo stampede--she feels traumatized as the young man was Jerome Santana, Momma Anna's son. It only gets worse when the leaders of the local Pueblo government make it known that they believe Jamaica was the one who started the stampede that killed Jerome. Her boss wants her to play down her involvement and stay quiet, but every bone in Jamaica's body won't let her stay out of it and leads her to find out the truth about Jerome's death.
Steeped in the culture and lore and mysticism of the Pueblo Indians, this was quite an interesting story, easy to read (if occasionally a little...I don't know....clumsy or awkward, maybe) with a somewhat unique and engaging lead character. I picked this book up to fulfill a requirement in a mystery reading challenge (something with the word Indigo in the title) and am very glad I did so.
I'd not heard of this author until this title popped up in a search--coincidentally, the next day I noticed when the Left Coast Crime awards were announced that the latest book in the series is nominated for a Watson (best sidekick) and a Hillerman Sky Award for a book that captures the landscape of the Southwest. This book certainly did a great job with that, too. Looking forward to more, and will be interested to see how the author's writing matures.