Aimee and David Thurlo have won the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for their romantic suspense, the Willa Cather Award for Contemporary Fiction, and the New Mexico Book Award. They are coauthors of the Special Investigator Ella Clah series, the Lee Nez series of Navajo vampire thrillers, and the southwestern Sister Agatha cozy mysteries. Aimee, a native of Cuba, lived in the US for many years. She died in 2014. David was raised on the Navajo Reservation and taught school there until his retirement. He lives in Corrales, New Mexico, and often makes appearances at area bookstores.
Thanking Tony Hillerman for his help and inspiration, the Thurlos (Second Shadow) launch a promising mystery series set in the Southwest. FBI agent Ella Clah is called home to the Navajo Nation reservation after the mutilation murder of her father, a Christian preacher. Ella's brother, Clifford, a Navajo hataali, or traditional medicine man, has fled, which makes him a suspect. Initially, Ella finds herself an outsider among the tribe she abandoned when she was 18 in order to carve a career off-reservation. She pursues the killer, wading into treacherous reservation politics and the perpetual conflict between traditionalists and reformers. Along the way, she realizes, despite what she has told herself, that she hasn't forsaken her own Indian soul. Contrasting the high-tech and hyperrational methods of the FBI with the ritual world of the Navajo (native witchcraft figures prominently), the Thurlos ratchet up a lot of suspense. Throw away logic and enjoy. (June)
"Mystery readers who like their murders solved by applied intelligence will love Ella Clah." --Tony Hillerman