Margaret Coel The Drowning Man Reviews

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“The Drowning Man ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 28/06/2006

The Drowning Man
Margaret Coel
Berkley, Sep 2006, $23.95
ISBN: 0425211711

On the Wind River Reservation, every Arapaho is stunned by the theft of THE DROWNING MAN. The ancient petroglyph is considered a sacred tribal heirloom of immense value as the spirits etched the image of the hunter drowning in water. The thieves send their ransom demand of a quarter of a million dollars to have the artifact returned or else watch it vanish on the black market.

Father John O'Malley is outraged by this desecration and vows to investigate until he uncovers the identity of the thieves and returns the icon back to the tribe. Realizing the parallels to another stolen petroglyph seven years ago in which the item was never recovered and allegedly one of the felons Travis Birdsong killed his partner Raymond Trueblood, attorney Vicky Holden joins Father John on his inquiries because she believes that Travis was innocent of the robbery and the homicide. Neither is prepared to encounter a killer who will murder anyone who threatens him or his lucrative business.

This is a terrific mystery as Margaret Coel showcases a major international issue involving illegal selling of stolen contraband in this case a priceless religious artifact from Native Americans. The investigation is excellent as the lead pair does a fabulous job following the clues while the culprit waits for the right moment to eliminate them. However, what makes this one of the best entries of a strong series is the tribal reaction to the horror of the theft as fans can feel their anguish. Ms. Coel is at her best with this sensitive whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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