The Eagle Catcher
The first in a series of mystery novels set among the Arapahos on Wyoming's Wind River Reservation.
Read about the ten-year anniversary Commemorative Edition of The Eagle Catcher from ASAP Publishing.
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When the Arapaho tribal chairman is found murdered in his tepee at the Ethete powwow, the evidence points to the chairman's nephew, Anthony Castle. But Father John O'Malley, pastor of St. Francis Mission, and Vicky Holden, the Arapaho lawyer, do not believe the young man capable of murder. Together they set out to find the real murderer and clear Anthony's name.
The trail that Father John and Vicky follow winds across the high plains of the Wind River Reservation into Arapaho homes and community centers and into the fraud-infested world of Indian oil and land deals. Eventually it leads to the pastthe Old Timewhen the Arapahos were forced from their homes on the Great Plains and sent to the reservation.
There in the Old Time, Father John and Vicky discover a crime so heinous that someone was willing to commit murder more than a hundred years later to keep it hidden. As they close in a killer who does not hesitate to kill again, they discover they have become the next targets.
Critics have praised The Eagle Catcher as a tightly crafted mystery that blends Native American culture and history with contemporary issues and fast-paced action. It introduced two intelligent, compassionate sleuths: Father John O'Malley, S.J., a history scholar and recovering alcoholic, exiled to an Indian mission on the Great Plains, and Vicky Holden, an attorney who, after ten years in the outside world, has returned to the reservation to help her people.
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Berkley Hardcover, September 2009, ISBN: 978-0425229767
"Coel weaves often insightful commentary about Arapaho culture, bigotry and the widespread alcoholism among Western tribes. Likeable, well-drawn characters and a lively pace mark this novelwhich appears poised for a sequelfor Hillerman fans."
"...told with conviction and love."
"The best parts of The Eagle Catcher are Coel's portrayal of the dual cultures that exist uneasily on the reservation and an uncanny sense of dialogue that makes her characters ring true. Like the best novelists, Coel teaches her readers somethingin this case about the Plains Indians. But she doesn't go overboard. After all, this is not a history lesson but a mystery, and a fine one.
The Denver Post
"...shouldn't be missed by anyone interested in either new trends in mystery writing or contemporary American Indian culture. Coel is a master of both."
"I am always on the lookout for new mystery authors and after reading Margaret Coel’s first entry in this series I am eager to read more."
"Margaret Coel hits all the right notes in this first book of her series which takes place on an Indian Reservation in Wyoming... Coel creates interesting characters, and both Father John and Vicki have past problems which give them more depth than many characters in mystery stories. Coel also does a good job of portraying the Arapaho culture and adds interesting details about things such as funeral customs, "Indian time", and the "moccasin telegraph". I look forward to reading the other books in this series."