Beautifully written with a riveting plot and a richly drawn, diverse cast of characters, Hearts of the Missing is the mesmerizing debut from 2017 Tony Hillerman Prize recipient Carol Potenza.
When a young woman linked to a list of missing Fire-Sky tribal members commits suicide, Pueblo Police Sergeant Nicky Matthews is assigned to the case. As the investigation unfolds, she uncovers a threat that strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Fire-Sky Native: victims chosen and murdered because of their genetic makeup. But these deaths are not just about a life taken. In a vengeful twist, the killer ensures the spirits of those targeted will wander forever, lost to their family, their People, and their ancestors. When those closest to Nicky are put in jeopardy, she must be willing to sacrifice everything—her career, her life, even her soul—to save the people she is sworn to protect.
Potenza's outstanding debut and series launch is sure to please fans of mysteries that respectfully depict Native American culture and beliefs. Sgt. Monique "Nicky" Matthews works for the Fire-Sky Pueblo police on New Mexico's Tsiba'ashi D'yini reservation. When a missing person case is resolved as a suicide, the deceased's relatives and Nicky's own mysterious visions lead her to suspect murder. Despite resistance from her hostile captain, Nicky and her intriguing but possibly untrustworthy new colleague, Frank Martin, investigate a connection to a pair of unsolved killings from two years earlier. Their search puts them into conflict with a powerful casino magnate and brings an old flame back into Nicky's life with unpredictable consequences. Nicky, a strong, nuanced lead, inhabits a world populated by well-developed supporting characters. Another plus is Potenza's vivid portrayal of the desert landscape. Readers will look forward to seeing a lot more of Nicky and her friends.
This is an excellent modern mystery with original characters and a distinctive southwestern setting. The story is action packed, with a bit of a supernatural element, and has a strong female protagonist with an original voice. The setting of the novel on a fictional Native American reservation in Northern New Mexico is intriguing and adds an authentic southwestern feel to the story. The central mystery is unique in its combination of the historical and ancestral culture of Native American heritage with modern DNA science. Looking forward to the next mystery in the series featuring the main character in this unique and original world.