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The Drowning Man
Wind River Reservation #12

by Margaret Coel

      As long as the Arapaho Indians can remember there has been an ancient petroglyph depicting the "Downing Man" on the canyon wall of Red Cliff Canyon. Their carving shows a human figure struggling under water as he is drowning. Their legends say that it was carved there by the spirits. It is impossible for the Arapaho tribe to place a value on this artifact.

Shock and outrage result when the petroglyph is stolen, chiseled away and vanishing into the night. A messenger brings a ransom demand to Father O'Malley - $250,000 or the carving vanishes forever.

Father O'Malley relays the message but also informs the FBI. The theft is eerily like a theft that took place seven years ago that was never solved. It was thought that the thieves had a falling out and one murdered the other.

Vicky Holden, Arapaho attorney, represents Travis Birdsong, a man serving time for the murder, a murder that Vicki was never convinced he committed. When Vicky agrees to represent him and try to prove his innocence the Arapaho people also ask her to try to stop a big logging corporation from desecrating and destroying the canyon.

Add to the mix, Vicky's attraction to Father John, her uncertainty about her relationship with her partner, Adam Lone Eagle and the arrival of a retied priest who is known to be a pedophile, and the tension ratchets up.

As Father O'Malley and Vicky join forces to right this terrible wrong the reader is invited into the world of the Arapaho Indians. Margaret Coel, originally a historian by trade. is considered an expert on the Arapahos. This knowledge shows in her beautifully written book.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Wife of Moon #10
Eye of the Wolf # 11
The Drowning Man #12
Killing Custer #17
The Man Who Fell From the Sky #19

The Book

September 5, 2006
Mystery: Indian

The Reviewer

Susan Johnson
Reviewed 2006
© 2006