As “the new heir apparent to Tony Hillerman,”* Kirk Mitchell brings us back to Indian country with investigator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Emmett Parker, “a great guy to keep around.” (New York Times Book Review)
Badly wounded, Emmett Parker has come home. After thirteen years of assignments that took him to every Indian nation but his own, the veteran investigator has finally arrived in Oklahoma to heal. At once a son of the Nuhmuhnuh (“the People,” as the Comanche call themselves) and a government investigator, he has ties to both sides—and is about to discover which side pulls harder.
On the reservation, Emmett finds a web of familial and tribal duties—and what could become a class action suit, with Indian plaintiffs suing the BIA for oil funds. Drawn into the controversy, Emmett is then accused of murder by an investigator of his own blood. And now, a man who used to be the law is running from it…
*Midwest Book Review
In Mitchell's impressive fifth mystery (after 2003's Sky Woman Falling) featuring federal investigator Emmett Quanah Parker, the badly injured Parker has returned home to Oklahoma. His Comanche brethren, along with members of neighboring tribes, come together to honor Parker with a dance. A surprise appearance by the U.S. president who for some odd reason is unnamed confirms the high esteem in which Parker and his work are held. Days later, however, Parker comes to the aid of his old friend Jerome Crowe and finds himself the object of an intense manhunt. Crowe, who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, had confided to Parker that he was investigating money from land use fees being rerouted to other accounts. When Crowe is murdered, Parker is the prime suspect in the land-use scam as well as Crowe's death. It's a little farfetched that the well-regarded Parker could fall so far from grace, but the longstanding animosity between Parker and federal agent Michael Mangas, another boyhood acquaintance, makes the suspicion more understandable. If the primary villain is a bit too removed from the heart of the story, the endless tumble of breathless events, including Parker's rushing into practice artillery fire on an army base and a truly mind-boggling feat involving train tracks, makes that a very small complaint.