Carole B. reviewed The Witch's Tongue (Charlie Moon, #9) on
This is a wonderful mystery by an author who recently passed away. It is full of suspense, wit and humor, and many interesting tidbits about the Ute tribe. I needed to buy the whole series so I could read them again and enjoy all of James Doss's books several times. He and Tony Hillerman were master writers of mysteries set in the Southwest. Doss's main character, Charley Moon, moves and grows throughout the series. His aunt, Daisy Perika, is a shaman and quite a character. She lends humor and a mystical insight into the old Ute beliefs. It is best to read them in order, but definitely read them you must!
The 9th in the Charlie Moon series. I could tell I was missing some background not having read the previous. Charlie Moon is an investigator (7 feet tall, Doss mentions this a lot) for the Ute tribe in Colorado, when he's not tending his ranch. Charlie is around for several seemingly unrelated events: a woman reports her abusive husband missing, a Navajo man tries to run from a DUI traffic stop, a tiny museum gets burgled. An antique dealer tries to broker the return of the museum's items and gets shot right in front of Charlie. Charlie is not exactly a paragon of virtue: his moral code runs more towards avaricious than justice. I found the tone of this book curious. Pretty sure I'm supposed to be laughing as half the time everyone talks like they've stepped out of Jane Austen, but I felt like it was just trying too hard to be clever. You can see the original villain right up front, but all the others are a tangle, and Charlie's intuitions are not told to us. I did like Daisy Perika, the shaman who is Charlie's aunt. Oh well, not looking for another one of these.
Good opening paragraph:
"Nearly 13,000 summers have passed since that splendid morning when the first human footprints appeared between these towering canyon walls. But in all the years since that singular event, not one good thing has happened here. This being the case, hardly anyone visits this remote and dreadful place - though the rare exception is worthy of mention."