Fiction - Mystery - Murder
230 Pages
Reviewed on 12/18/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Reservations is a police procedural mystery written by Richard Paolinelli. Ben Yazzie had been prepared for a somewhat different type of day as he would be celebrating his first year in office as the President of the Navajo Nation, but he had no idea just how terrifying a day it would end up being. First, there was the news that his mentor and friend, Martin Kinlichee, whose failure to appear at the anniversary celebrations had prompted a search, was found dying in his home. While the EMTs had been able to briefly resuscitate the man, his brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long. When a second friend and fellow council member, Rick Hoskie, was found murdered in his home with tribal markings carved into his flesh, Yazzie and the authorities decided to take a second look into the supposed ‘heart attack’ death of Kinlichee. The murder of James Runningelk, a third council member, had Yazzie seriously considering who could be behind the murders, and he suspected it was someone close to him. While he didn’t feel he could place his full trust in his protection detail or the local police, he did know of an old college friend who could help him stop the killer.

Richard Paolinelli’s police procedural mystery, Reservations, takes the reader to Window Rock, Arizona, as FBI agent Jack Del Rio and Navajo Nation police officer, Lucy Chee, track down an elusive killer who appears to his victims dressed as Coyote, the trickster. The depth of the author’s research into the Dine, Hopi and Zuni people and the delicate balance and harmony the three tribes still struggle to maintain is obvious in this most compelling work. The plot is tight and well-constructed as Del Rio and Chee attempt to narrow down their list of possible suspects. Del Rio is a fresh and intriguing character, and I enjoyed seeing both his psychological approach to interviewing suspects and his occasional bursts of high-velocity action in pursuit of the killer. At the end of the story, several of Paolinelli’s characters leave some tantalizing hints about a future challenge facing this intrepid sleuth, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. Reservations is most highly recommended.