Books by Margaret Coel

Margaret Coel is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of the acclaimed novels featuring Father John O'Malley and Vickky Holden, as well as several works of nonfiction. Originally a historian by trade, she is considered an expert on the Ara

Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"An interesting combination of historical information on Buffalo Bill's wildly popular show and modern-day mystery."
A lawyer and a priest must solve yet another murder on the Wind River Reservation. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 6, 2011

"Although Coel reveals the killer's identity in the first chapter, the dangerous dance between Catherine and her quarry provides all the tension you could ask for."
A reporter and a killer duel over the murder of a political candidate. Read full book review >
THE SPIDER'S WEB by Margaret Coel
Released: Sept. 7, 2010

"Far from the best in Coel's Wind River series (The Silent Spirit, 2009, etc.), but still worth reading for its insights into modern reservation life."
An Arapaho attorney and a parish priest who often work together have different takes on a murder on the rez. Read full book review >
THE SILENT SPIRIT by Margaret Coel
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"Another of Coel's engaging blends of history, mystery, sexual tension and present-day life on the reservation."
A search for answers to his grandfather's disappearance brings tragedy to a troubled man and his family. Read full book review >
BLOOD MEMORY by Margaret Coel
Released: Sept. 2, 2008

"Coel's departure from her Wind River Reservation series (The Girl with the Braided Hair, 2007, etc.) is a fine combination of historical detail, mystery and pulse-pounding terror."
An investigative reporter's knowledge may make her an assassin's target. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 4, 2007

"Another wonderfully evocative story of the struggles of the Arapaho to retain their heritage while living in a white man's world."
The bones of a woman found on the Wind River Reservation revive the turmoil of the past. Read full book review >
THE DROWNING MAN by Margaret Coel
Released: Sept. 5, 2006

"Coel (Eye of the Wolf, 2005, etc.) blends her usual thoughtful depiction of life on the reservation with a solid mystery."
Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and her clerical friend investigate artifact theft and murder near the Wind River reservation. Read full book review >
EYE OF THE WOLF by Margaret Coel
Released: Sept. 6, 2005

"Coel's latest Wind River chronicle (Killing Raven, 2003, etc.) offers a skillful blend of history and mystery, with characters whose motives are seldom what they seem."
Ancient quarrels erupt anew between the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes on the Wind River Reservation. Read full book review >
KILLING RAVEN by Margaret Coel
Released: Sept. 2, 2003

"The appealing domestic details of life on the rez ring truer than the tired tale of corporate corruption."
Still more virtue and vice on an Arapaho reservation. Read full book review >
THE SHADOW DANCER by Margaret Coel
Released: Sept. 3, 2002

"In this sixth outing, Coel (The Lost Bird, 1999, etc.) depicts a finely textured world of believable characters, but seems uninterested in plot construction or mystery."
After Arapaho lawyer Vicki Holden (née Singing Bird) has a contentious dinner with her ex-husband Ben, a successful businessman and even more successful ladies' man, he's shot dead, and she becomes the prime suspect. Tightening the noose is the fact that the murder weapon belongs to Vicki's Aunt Rose, who claims it was stolen. Normally, handsome priest John O'Malley from the Wind River Indian Reservation would step in to support friend Vicki and help her solve the crime, but Father John has his hands full with another matter. Distraught elderly sisters Louise and Minnie Little Horse have implored him to find Dean, their missing nephew. Learning that Dean has a girlfriend named Janis he's kept secret from his doting aunts, Father John traces her to a revived Indian sect known as the Shadow Dancers. Led by a man named James Sherwood, a.k.a. Orlando, they dance for days at a time in preparation, so the legend goes, for Paradise. Father John is unsettled by the blind fervor of Orlando's followers; what Orlando describes as a reverent return to tradition many see as a dangerous cult. The investigative paths of Vicki and Father John merge when Dean's body is found shot by the same gun that killed Ben. In a finale that's more Nancy Drew than Nick and Nora, Father John and Vicki stumble into the solution and face off against the surprising culprit. Read full book review >
THE LOST BIRD by Margaret Coel
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

It's an awful moment for Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden as the fifth in this Hillermanesque series (The Story Teller, 1998, etc.) gets underway. According to a radio bulletin, a priest from Wyoming's St. Francis Mission to the Wind River Indian Reservation has been shot to death. Vicky (nee Singing Bird) is certain the victim is Father John O'Malley, the mission pastor, with whom she's secretly but desperately in love. (He's secretly desperate, too.) Turns out, to her immense relief, that 70-ish Father Joseph, not hunkish Father John, was driving the mission pick-up. At first, Vicky—like everyone else, including Father John—assumes death by mistaken identity. He must have been the intended target, Father Joseph simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. After all, Father Joseph had been at the mission a bare three weeks. Who could have worked up enough murderous hate for him in that short a period? But when Vicky learns that 35 years ago Father Joseph did a previous mission stint, she's forced to rethink. Mysterious things happened then—an inexplicable rise in Native American infant mortality, a couple of suspicious suicides—that seem connected to the mysterious things happening now. Vicky and Father John conduct separate but equal investigations. In the end, of course, rampaging villainy is brought to justice, and rambunctious passion kept in check. Tune in next time. Father O'Malley and Vicky hold their own as characters, but the mystery itself lacks substance, and Coel really needs to polish her action scenes. Read full book review >
THE STORY TELLER by Margaret Coel
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

The Story Teller ($21.95; Oct. 1; 256 pp.; 0-425-16538-8): The disappearance of an irreplaceable, historic, and deadly Arapaho ledger book from a museum whose staffers claim it was never in their collection: a fourth case for attorney Vicky Holden and her barely platonic friend Father John O'Malley (The Dream Stalker, 1997, etc.). Read full book review >
THE DREAM STALKER by Margaret Coel
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

After too many years of poverty and neglect, the Arapahos and Shoshones of Wyoming's Wind River Reservation are finally going to clean up—by accepting the United Power Company's nuclear waste, which will be laid to rest securely beneath Alexander Legeau's family ranch. United president Paul Bryant is delighted. So is Legeau, who's offered to sell the ranch as the triumphant fulfillment of a lifelong dream. And so are Matthew Bosse, the elder of the Arapaho tribal council, who proposed the facility in the first place, and most of his people, who see United's promised cash payout as only the beginning of a sorely- needed stream of jobs and income. About the only people who aren't happy, in fact, are Father John O'Malley, the alcoholic mission pastor who finds the murder of cancer-ridden, conscience- stricken Gabriel Many Horses suspiciously well-timed, and Vicky Holden, the activist lawyer who's convinced that any deal that looks too good to be true must be. As they continue to battle their impossible mutual attraction, Father John and Vicky (The Ghost Walker, 1996, etc.) work, together and separately, to figure out who wants United's radioactive waste enough to kill for it. When everybody in the book has basically the same motive, you can't expect too much in the way of suspense or surprise. But Coel's third is swift and compelling, with her usual light, penetrating touch with the Arapaho and their neighbors. Read full book review >
THE GHOST WALKER by Margaret Coel
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

A veteran writer of nonfiction on the West, Coel introduced Father John O'Malley previously in The Eagle Catcher (1995); here, in the second of what may become a series, another mystery is engagingly constructed around the professional (and personal) trials of O'Malley, leader of the St. Francis Mission to the Wind River Indian Reservation in winter-blasted Wyoming. This time there's enough violence, addiction, and incipient romance to keep more than one spiritual advisor on military alert. Father John discovers and then loses track of a body in a ditch. Subsequently, a business cartel threatens to close the Mission; the daughter of the tribal lawyer—a lovely ``woman alone'' and proven ally named Vicky Holden—comes home with a drug habit in the company of strange men; and two jobless braves go missing. Not to mention that the clerical Toyota pickup is blindsided. Father John is a recovering alcoholic; he prevails one day at a time, emptying a whiskey bottle into the Wind River, locating the murderer, and even finding a way to fund Arapaho basketball. Coel's inoffensive series (or series-to-be) in the Hillerman tradition finds a space where Jesuits and Native Americans can meet in a culture of common decency. The stories could benefit from a less polite tone and less attention to the minutiae of food, clothing, and—in this case, cold—weather. Read full book review >
THE EAGLE CATCHER by Margaret Coel
Released: May 15, 1995

Was Harvey Castle, Arapaho tribal chairman for the Wind River reservation, stabbed by the hotheaded nephew whose knife was found in his tepee? Even though Anthony Castle's forbidden romance with the niece of would-be Wyoming governor Ned Cooley gives him a perfect motive, neither Father John O'Malley, Jesuit superior of the St. Francis mission, nor city-trained lawyer Vicky (neÇ Singing Deer) Holden can believe it—especially when another member of the tribal council is killed in a highway non- accident, and both the plains and the tribe's rich history are full of such obvious suspects as greedy oilman Jasper Owens and the Cooley family. Hillerman Lite—a familiar tale told with conviction and love. Read full book review >