Forge, April 2004, 24.95, 336 pp.
During the closing of the uranium mines at Four Corners in the Navaho Reservation in New Mexico, a child almost falls through an abandoned mine shaft. Navaho Police Special Investigator Elle Clah rescues him but falls in the hole and the ground offers no hard holds to pull herself out. She manages to attract someone's attention but before she can be rescued, she is drowning in a sea of sand. When she is taken out, they pronounce her dead and put a sheet over her, but she suddenly jumps up very much alive. She had a near death experience and everything she believes about the afterlife is challenged.
The shaft she fell in was once used by Skinwalkers and because of that the fact that she was declared dead, the traditionalist and the new traditionalists want her to have a special sing to remove the taint of death that clings to her. Only one man alive knows it and nobody knows where he is. A crime wave of arson, murder and numerous attempts on Ella's life breaks out and Ella is hampered in her investigation because many Navaho won't deal with her until she has the sing.
Aimee and David Thurlo always writes a great Native American police procedural but this work is one of the best because after almost being killed Ella realizes she has to make some changes in her life. WIND SPIRIT is as much a mystery as it is an anthropological story of the Navaho lifestyle. It is fascinating to see how many different cultural groups live on the reservation. The authors educate as well as entertain the readers by incorporating social issues that must be addressed into the plot.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner