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Blackening Song

Blackening Song by Aimée Thurlo and David Thurlo

Reviewed by L. Bennett


Ella Clah was working in Los Angeles when she received word that her father had been murdered. Her training as an FBI agent kicked in but her boss told her she was not allowed to investigate. All Ella could do with her leave of absence was go home to the Navajo Reservation and be with her mother and brother. But her arrival puts Ella in the midst of struggles between Anglo and Navajo religion, FBI protocols and tribal etiquette, and her with her own family's past. If she is to have a career, if she is to retain her family ties, and if she is to be a whole person, Ella must resolve more than a murder.


This is the first in the Ella Clah series written by Aimée and David Thurlo, and it was published in 1995. While some reviewers suggested the authors offered only a poor imitation of Tony Hillerman, I found the book was not a copycat piece. It had its own perspectives, was more Anglo than Indigenous, and was also an entertaining and quick read. I'll probably look for another of Ella's adventures to see how the authors matured in their story telling.


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