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by Jake Page

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-345-38782-1
Publisher: Ballantine

 When Hollywood director Andrew Pindaric's movie about the 1680 Pueblo rebellion is disrupted by the deaths of two governors, the murder of the celluloid governor--leading man Gregorio Velasquez, who plays the Spanish colonial ruler against whom the Pueblos revolted--raises hackles and fears around the shoot. But it's the heart-attack death of the real governor-- Jonva (nÇ Luis Rodriguez), the aging leader of the Pueblo of Santo Esteban--that brings in the FBI when Jonva's son, Martin Rodriguez, can't find his father's symbol of tribal authority, a silver-headed cane presented to the tribe by Abraham Lincoln. What do Velasquez's murder and that of another luckless cast member have to do with the missing cane, with Santo Esteban's bitterly fought internal politics, and with the Pueblo's hard- fought lawsuit to recover lands seized many years ago by the feds? Tough questions for the local police--and for blind sculptor Mo Bowdre (The Deadly Canyon, 1994, etc.), who dispenses his trademark bluff good cheer (``Hah--hah--hah'') while he's untangling the knotty web of legal maneuvers that hides the killer. Striking background, appealing characters, honest detection. Only the ending--revealing a murderer who manages to be at once obvious and obscure--is a letdown.