Morrow, Jan 2002, 23.95, 304 pp.
The shared mythos centers on the Anasazi priests sacrificing innocent lives in hopes of gaining favor from the WHITE SHELL WOMAN (moon) and her twin chidlren (Colorado rock formations). Now a millennium later, a Zuni girl discovers what is apparently an ancient petroglyph that leaves the experts totally divided on what the find means. Not long afterward, an archeologist dies at the treasure site.
Ute Shaman Daisy Perika believes the modern world has once again stepped where it does not belong and knows more ill is to come from stomping on the ancient secrets. Still, needing capital for his herd of cattle, her nephew former Ute policeman rancher Charlie Moon ignores her dire warning and begins to investigate the murder and the archeological treasure. He does not yet realize the danger he faces from what seems a spiritual source as his aunt describes, but may actually prove mundane and deadly.
The latest war between heritage and modernization, WHITE SHELL WOMAN, is an exciting entry due to the charming cast (including curmudgeon Daisy) that retains a freshness about them. The story line is filled with Native American mythos and offers the typical collision between two worlds that culminate in mayhem and murder. Fans of the sub-genre will relish James D. Doss' latest encounter, but though well written and perceptive the plot lose some of its luster as it contains a déjà vu feel to it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner