THE SILENT SPIRIT by Margaret Coel


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A search for answers to his grandfather’s disappearance brings tragedy to a troubled man and his family.

After years of drug abuse, Kiki Wallowingbull claims to be clean, sober and determined to learn why his grandfather, one of the Arapahos and Shoshones who left the reservations in 1923 to make the first Western movie to cast Native Americans, never returned to his wife and child. When Kiki is found dead in the river, his grandfather begs Father John O’Malley, just back from a stint in Rome, to prove he hadn’t gone back to drug dealing. Attorney Vicky Holden and Adam Lone Eagle, her partner in law and love, are supposed to be working on cases that can reap big profits for the tribes. Much to Adam’s disquiet, however, Vicky’s background in criminal law (The Drowning Man, 2006, etc.) makes her susceptible to a request from an unknown man who claims to have killed Kiki in self-defense. Vicky and Father John run into trouble when they cross the path of Kiki’s former boss, a dealer with no compunction about attacking a priest. Undeterred, Father John searches among old tribal memories for clues, while Vicky follows Kiki’s footsteps to Hollywood, where she discovers an affair with a movie star that might well provide a motive for murder.

Another of Coel’s engaging blends of history, mystery, sexual tension and present-day life on the reservation.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-425-22976-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2009


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