BAD MEDICINE by Aimée Thurlo


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 En route to a homicide scene--Navajo rights activist Stanley Bitah has been clubbed to death--tribal police officer Ella Clah stops to check out a report of a drunk driver, only to find that Angelina Yellowhair isn't drunk but that she'd been fatally poisoned even before her car crashes. The two apparently unrelated murders are an apt image for this overstuffed novel of Anglo-Navajo conflicts, suspicions, and animosities. Was Bitah killed by one of the fellow coal miners who resented his ties to the militant Navajo Justice Church, or is the murder the work of the white-supremacist Brotherhood, or of the Fierce Ones of the Navajo reservation? It's impossible for Ella to focus on that case, because Angelina's father, influential State Senator James Yellowhair, is leaning hard on Ella and her friend, tribal medical examiner Carolyn Roanhorse, to ignore forensic evidence that Angelina had drugs in her system and shut down that investigation. While Ella's struggling to balance her caseload without losing her cool with any of the dozens of hotheaded suspects, Angelina's tissue samples disappear; her poisoned organs follow; devastating infections break out among Carolyn's patients; and suddenly the medical examiner is on the way to being discredited, fired, and burned out of her home. To top it off, Ella's hated father-in-law is sending her taunting notes from beyond the grave. Where will it all end? Like Ella's two previous cases (Death Walker, 1996, etc.), this one is too much of a good thing; trying to sort out the suspects and subplots is like wandering for hours and hours in a museum filled with fascinating exhibits.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-86328-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997


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