Wild Indigo
by Sandi Ault

The Penguin Group, Berkley Prime Crime, 2007. ISBN 978-0-425-21901-0.
Reviewed by Rhonda Esakov
Posted on 02/21/2008

Fiction: Mystery

In this debut mystery, Wild Indigo, by Sandi Ault, BLM Agent Jamaica Wild is assigned to the wilderness areas surrounding Tanoah Pueblo in the Southwest region. While following a mysterious tip, she witnesses a tribal member being killed in a bison stampede, then has to flee to her vehicle to get away from the herd. When her boss tells her to back off, her intuition tells her that this death, ruled as a suicide, is something more, and she starts her own investigation. As Jamaica is befriended by one native family and beleaguered by an old curandera (witch doctor), her search for the truth leads her deep into the maze of mysteries surrounding Pueblo religious rites, peyote cults and tribal witchcraft.

In addition to the wonderful descriptions of the area, Jamaica's personal dealings with an unruly housemate bring the characters and story to life. Her bond with her constant companion, a young wolf, presents its own unique blend of problems and companionship, but his love and devotion far outstrip the troubles caused by his abandonment issues. Jamaica and the wolf form a family unlike any other. I felt like crying when it was threatened.

Mystery fans will have a challenging time figuring out the identity of the killer and will enjoy Jamaica's efforts to tackle the obstacles in her path to the truth. When her adopted families are threatened, she gets tough and fights back hard to find answers before any more people have to die. The the author's descriptions show her love for the native culture, the land and animals. The characters are appealing, the landscape vivid and the action flows as the Southwest springs to life in this enjoyable mystery.

Sandi Ault, along with her husband, wolf and cat, makes her home in the Colorado Rockies. A former journalist and newspaper editor, Sandi has taught writing at the University of New Mexico-Taos, among other places. You can read more about her and her wolf, Mountain, at her website.

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