When Patsy Greyhorse was found dead beside the highway, her death was seen as unusual. In that area of the country many bodies found by the highway were due to a combination of alcohol and wandering around in the middle of the night. The main thing that made this death different was that she was in a high ranking position in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Also, she had not been drinking nor was she a Navajo as were characteristic of most of the deaths in that area.
Unfortunately for him, Thomas Begay was found drunk and asleep under a nearby bridge. Investigators assumed he was the killer. When they brought him into the emergency room in nearby Farmington, New Mexico, he was in handcuffs and very drunk. Still, Begay was able to escape and the hunt was on for the alleged murderer.
Charlie Yazzie was a graduate of the law school at the University of New Mexico looking for a job in the field of law. Right now he was a special investigator for the legal department assigned to the Begay case. Believing his old friend would never have committed this crime, he put his job on the line to find the real killer.
Unscrupulous players within the tribe and higher up wanted this investigation to go away no matter who had to die. When a second body was found, Charlie Yazzie knew if anyone else caught Thomas Begay before he did Thomas would more than likely not make it back to police headquarters alive.
Navajo Autumn was written by R. Allen Chappell as an introduction to a new series. His first book, The Fat of the Land, was a well-received collection of short stories. Navajo Autumn has been compared to the works of Tony Hillerman, and rightly so.
The majority of the action takes place on the Navajo Reservation, a land steeped in tradition and culture. The fast-paced story and depth of characters will draw readers into an intriguing look at a culture many of us donít know about or understand.
This was a great learning experience for me to see how such situations are handled by traditional versus nontraditional investigators, and in this story, some more honest than others.
Chappell not only wrote an interesting book, but told a great story. Natural born story tellers are a pleasure to read. Personally, I could not put this book down and read far into the night to find out how it was going to end.
A special thank you goes to Mr. Chappell for providing a complimentary a copy of this book for review purposes. If you are interested in any of R. Allen Chappellís books, they are available on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback format.