Coyote's Wife: An Ella Clah Novel (Ella Clah Novels)

Coyote's Wife - Aimee Thurlo, David Thurlo With the ever-growing trend of series in the mystery genre, also grows the question of whether one need to read them in series order. In this case, I was thrown into the middle of a series (book thirteen) due to a selection by the store's mystery book club, and perhaps the fact that I'm reminded of the question is a mark against the book. The Thrulos, when referencing the past, provide either too much information or too little. Either they needed to explain the past more fully or gloss over it a bit more smoothly. The former risks spoilers, the latter risks confusing the reader as to why characters are behaving as they do. I admit that I prefer books that tend to the latter. I'd rather wonder about a character's motivations than their reticence, especially when in their point-of-view. On the positive side, I enjoyed learning a bit about the Navajo Nation. The plot involves the installation of satellite phones into "the Rez", where few have landlines and cell reception is patchy. This throws into relief the difference between traditionalists, modernists and new-traditionalists, as well as the relations all three groups have with Anglos. The story is told from the third-person of Ella Clah, Special Investigator with the Navajo Police, who has ties to both Navajo religion and Christianity, both through her pastor father and her relationship with Reverend Bilford Tome, which is played rather skillfully when the plot reveals that the case has a connection with skinwalkers. Perhaps it's because I've so recently been reading Richard Dawkins, but I also found the Navajo/skinwalkers/Anglo relationship interesting. When skinwalkers curse a Navajo's car and home, she is instructed to hire Anglo maids to clean up the physical elements of the curse before a spiritual cleansing can be performed. . It reminded me of the interesting quirk of so many religions -- that they are happy to let unbelievers suffer the wrath of their gods. Observant Jews have their shabbos goy and Navajos have their Anglo maids. And with the skinwalkers, the Thurlos are again thrown into the information balance. At the end of the book, I understood why skinwalkers were rejected by Navajos, but there were precious few glimpses of why one would chose to walk that path. The Thurlos also don't give the etymology of the term, leaving me turning to Google after finishing the book. Not a sign that encourages me to add the authors to the "must read" list.