While Police Chief Mitch Bushyhead investigates a dead body in the Oklahoma woods, he's bombarded with callers claiming to have seen the Fire Carrier, an evil spirit of Cherokee legend, near the body. Back in town, other tensions are beginning to boil.
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Police Chief Mitch Bushyhead of Buckskin, Oklahoma, has another murder on his hands (Ghostland, 1992, etc.). Tyler Hatch, director of the Cherokee Nation's Job Corps Center, is found dead in his car in the woods, after smashing a window in the family clinic where his battered wife Jessie had taken refuge. Hatch's image as a dedicated man able to turn around the lives of miscreants and drug addicts cuts no ice with clinic head Dr. Rhea Vann. She's seen a terrorized Jessie too often and knows too about Hatch's womanizing--often with his young charges. Meanwhile, Mitch has some other problems: the escape from prison of Jessie's brother, Henderson Sixkiller, undoubtedly on the loose in the area; a series of late-night robberies of costly horse tackle from local ranchers; and reports of a mysterious light in the woods, seen by some as a return of the evil spirit Fire Carrier. The chief's life as a widower isn't too happy, either, with lover Lisa Macpherson getting her Ph.D. in California and only sporadically returning his calls. Mitch puts a lot of suspects through a lot of dull questioning, trying to pin down the source of the four blows that killed Hatch and seeking motives strong enough to lead to murder. The solution is as flat as most of this labored effort, despite a lengthy exploration of the Cherokee stomp-dance and a last-minute twist that attempts to work up some excitement. Too little, too late. Not one of Hager's better efforts. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Hager, who writes the Molly Bearpaw mysteries (Nightwalker), returns to her series starring Mitch Bushyhead, Chief of Police of Buckskin, in Oklahoma's Cherokee country, with this intriguing, complex tale that mixes Cherokee life and lore with small-town eccentrics. Henderson Sixkiller has escaped from jail to rescue his sister, Jessie Hatch, from her violent husband, Tyler. While living by his wits in open country, he is spooked by sightings of a moving light that suggests the evil spirit Fire Carrier. After Dr. Rhea Vann, who runs the Cherokee Nation clinic in Buckskin, persuades a badly bruised Jessie to leave her husband, who operates the local Job Corps Center, Tyler shows up enraged, and Rhea drives him off with blows to the head. The following morning, Tyler is found dead in the woods. While Mitch investigates that death, which most ascribe to Henderson, he's also pursuing complaints of someone stealing saddles and gear, and he's occupied with trying to maintain communication with his teenage daughter, Emily. Then, when another Buckskin resident refuses to go home because he's convinced he's seen the Fire Carrier, Mitch takes a few tentative steps into recovering his place in Cherokee society. The solution to the crime is satisfying and tragically modern, and Mitch Bushyhead is an endearing, steady companion.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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