Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Judgment Fire-Marilyn Meredith

Judgment Fire
Marilyn Meredith
Mundania Press, Jul 2007, $10.00
ISBN: 9781594264849

In Bear Creek, Yvette La Rue hears the screams from her neighbor’s house and calls 911. Deputy Tempe Crabtree responds to the domestic dispute in which building contractor Tom Cannata had battered his wife Jackie. Tom is taken away while Jackie complains the cops should stay out of her family matters and that Yvette only called to embarrass her. Tempe has known Jackie since their school days together although they ran in different social circles as the Deputy was ostracized for being partially Native American.

Meanwhile another neighbor computer geeky guru Spence Gullott claims Tom diverted water from Bear Creek to his property, which now threatens Spence’s home and his family; at least that is what he claims. Not long afterward, someone kills Jackie who is found dead in her bed from a gunshot. The police suspect Tom and their son Ronnie, but Tempe has a gut feeling that the latter is innocent. As she wonders if her sensation is part of her Native American heritage, a police hunch, or both, she investigates the homicide while heeding the advice of her friend Native American shaman Dorethea Nightwalker that she faces danger.

Married couple, Deputy Tempe and Minister Hutch, makes this Native American whodunit exciting as they both are beginning to accept her mystical heritage. Thus fans of the series see how much the Crabtrees (and their offspring) have grown in terms of religious tolerance and acceptance since the earlier well written police procedurals (see CALLING THE DEAD and KINDRED SPIRITS). The investigation is fun, but it is the increasing acceptance of the reality of Native American mysticism (as embodied by the female Shaman) by the cop and the pastor that make the visit to the Sierras fun for readers.

Harriet Klausner

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