Margaret Coel departs from her Wind River Reservation mysteries to introduce a new character in Blood Memory. I followed her, with a departure from my usual reading. Normally, I won't read a "woman in jeopardy" novel. However, Coel's story caught me in the first couple pages, and wouldn't let go until I reached the final sentence. Readers will remain on the edge of their seats with this story.
Catherine McLeod is an investigative reporter with The Journal, one of Denver's newspapers. She's also divorced from one of the city's power brokers, a member of an old, influential Denver family, the Sterns. Since she was adopted as a child, she's never felt as if she had an identity, other than as an investigative reporter. Her current investigation changes her life, and her own story.
Blood Memory involves the reader immediately, when Catherine is followed late at night, right into her home. The man following her shoots her best friend, and leaves Catherine floundering for answers. Why was she followed? Was it a rapist, who failed? Or, was she a target of someone opposed to one of her investigative stories? As she and the police struggle for answers, and her friend struggles for his life, she's forced to dig through her past looking for the solution.
If it's the current story, Catherine realizes someone might be opposed to her coverage of the claim filed by the Arapahos and Cheyennes. The Colorado tribes filed claims on 27 million acres of the state, using the claim of genocide in the massacre of Sand Creek. And, there's so much more to the story, as she digs up political and business interests, including the possibility of a casino. And, personally, Catherine finds herself unusually attracted to the stories of the Arapahos and Sand Creek. She also proves to be unusually skillful at hiding and escaping from an assassin.
Coel may have departed from her usual setting, but her latest novel still probes into the history of the Arapahos, and the exploitation of the tribes. Her fans will not be disappointed with a cameo appearance by Vicky Holden, the Arapaho lawyer in her popular series. Most of all, fans will not be disappointed in the strong new character of Catherine McLeod. There's also an interesting police detective, Nick Bustamante, who offers possibilities if this book ever becomes the first in a series. Blood Memory is a taut story, a page turner that will keep the reader involved. Coel's book has an explosive beginning, and ends with a bang.
Margaret Coel's website is www.margaretcoel.com
Blood Memory by Margaret Coel. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2008. ISBN 978-0-425-22345-1 (hardcover), 320p.