Aimée & David Thurlo, Black Thunder (2011)

[Læst til Bogudfordringen 2011; en bog udgivet i 2011].

A Forge Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates, N.Y. I received a review copy from the publisher.

The sleuths of this series are Tribal Police Investigator Ella Clah and her sidekick, Justine Goodluck, who is also her second cousin.

“Justine stopped working on the windshield and looked directly at Ella. Although among Traditionalists that would have been considered extremely rude, tribal cops had learned to walk the line between the old and the new, adapting to a reservation in transition.”

The police discover a body which has been buried in the reservation for a long time and Ella takes a look around her:

“It´s also been replanted with vegetation, and at different times, too,” Ella said after a beat. “The section closest to the hand is covered with tumbleweeds and goatheads. Those are the first type of plants to appear in soil that has been disturbed. That should give us a rough idea of when the grave was dug.”

A closer survey of the area warns them that there may be more graves. All in all they find four bodies, apparently all Navajo Indians, buried over a long period of time, and everything points towards a killer who plans carefully ahead. Furthermore, someone begins to send Ella Clah text messages which seem to indicate she is being watched.

A nice mystery with interesting information about the Navajo tribe and their way to deal with death and murder. It is second nature to Ella to respect the customs of her tribe, but she is also a modern woman and single mother. She and her twelve-year-old daughter live in the same house as Ella´s mother and the mother´s husband so of course Ella goes through all the usual trouble of raising a child who thinks she is ready to take her own decisions.

An example of a Navajo figure of speech. People who are considered illoyal to the tribe are called apples – “red on the outside, white on the inside”.

Even though there are many victims and quite a bit of shooting in this police procedural, it is not at all a graphic novel.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in Aimée & David Thurlo, American, Bogudfordringen 2011, review, review 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Aimée & David Thurlo, Black Thunder (2011)

  1. Dorte – Thanks for the very fine review. I really do like series like this one where we get an “inside look” at the way a group of people live without the use of clichés, stereotypes, etc…

  2. Petty Witter says:

    ooh i like the sound of this one, it sounds like something a little bit different.

  3. Kelly says:

    This sounds a little bit different for me, too – and one that I think I would enjoy. Does it give the location? (as in which state?)

  4. Margot: I agree that the writers´ information about the lifestyle of the Navajos makes this series special.

    Tracy: it is; and I think you´d enjoy it for the same reasons as Margot does.

    Kelly: yes, it is in New Mexico. Sorry I didn´t mention it, but geography is not my strong part😉

  5. Bill Selnes says:

    Dorte: Not sure if you have read any of Tony Hillerman’s mysteries involving the Navaho. If you have, do you have a preference between Hillerman’s series and this series?

  6. Leeswammes says:

    This sounds interesting – I like it that the setting is quite different from what I normally read.

  7. p881 says:

    I miss Tony Hillerman so I may look for this one.

  8. Bill: no, I haven´t read any of them so it is impossible for me to compare. Margot may have read both series.

    Judith: you would probably enjoy the Navajo setting – the writers seem to know it very well.

    p881: I think it is great for readers who want to know about the reservation.

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