Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and her clerical friend investigate artifact theft and murder near the Wind River reservation.
Father John O’Malley becomes involved in the hunt for the recently stolen sacred petroglyph known as “The Drowning Man” when a mysterious Indian stops him on the road and offers to return the glyph to the tribes for $250,000. At the same time, Amos Walking Bear, grandfather of Travis Birdsong, asks Vicky to reopen the case that sent Travis to prison. Travis was convicted of manslaughter in the killing of his friend when they supposedly fell out over money after stealing a glyph almost identical to The Drowning Man, a glyph that was never recovered. Although both the Tribal Council and Vicky’s partner and lover Adam Lone Eagle want her to drop the case, Vicky thinks Travis was wrongly convicted and refuses to quit even after she’s almost killed. It’s clear that the old crime and the new one are connected. Soon enough, the FBI becomes involved in one of the many cases of stolen Native American artifacts under investigation all over the West. But it isn’t until Vicky convinces Travis to come clean and Father John puts his life on the line by acting as an intermediary that the criminal masterminds are finally brought to justice.
Coel (Eye of the Wolf, 2005, etc.) blends her usual thoughtful depiction of life on the reservation with a solid mystery.