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Four moon gifGolden Eagle Press (Paperback), ISBN 1891940031
Allow me to introduce to Deputy Tempe Crabtree, the protagonist of what promises to be a charming and delightful series of mysteries.

Book: Marilyn Meredith, Deadly OmenIn Deadly Omen, the series opener, this dedicated deputy follows a sleuthing trail that leads from a dog howl predicting death to a fallen eagle feather to a dead girl at an Native American Pow Wow. Along the way, the part Yanduchi Indian Tempe endures some unpleasant encounters with her fellow police persons, navigates several very interesting subplots, and introduces the reader to some truly quirky characters -- not to mention some endearing ones.

Tempe, her new husband (a minister) and her teenage son live in Bear Creek, a small town near the Yanduchi reservation in California's Sierra Mountains. Far from knowledgeable about her heritage, Tempe learns much as the investigation takes her onto the reservation. The number of suspects grows, and Tempe knows she has to find the real killer -- even if she oversteps her authority as a deputy and, to complicate matters further, worries her husband and son.

The first in a series but not a first novel, Deadly Omen's characterization, plot, setting and dialogue work together to create a cohesive and exciting whole. Watching a female, newly married law enforcement officer try to balance her job and her personal life as she ferrets out the killer, works swing shift and learns of her heritage as a Native American, gives the reader new insight into the world of crime and punishment and family life.

Meredith writes with verve, precision, and authority -- and manages to add a few smiles, a word or two of inspiration and lots of excitement in the process. I can hardly wait to see what sort of predicament Deputy Crabtree and family land in next. Fortunately I won't need to wait long, because I intend to read the second book in the series, Unequally Yoked, right now.

Patricia Lucas White

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