Elizabeth Chase is a psychic detective whose hunches and visions have helped the authorities solve a number of baffling crimes. But by the time of her fourth outing in Lawrence's increasingly popular series (The Cold Heart of Capricorn
, Murder in Scorpio
, Aquarius Descending
), Chase is a reluctant sleuth. Her lover has been killed in a showdown between cult leaders and the FBI, and she no longer trusts her own extrasensory gifts.
But when an old friend asks for help in solving the murder and scalping of a casino owner at Mystic Mesa on the Temecu Indian reservation in the California desert, Elizabeth is persuaded to get involved. She soon finds herself drawn to a charismatic--and strangely familiar--Native American shaman whose strange gifts awaken and energize her own.
Bill Hurston, a doctor with a gambling problem, is the chief suspect in the murder of his closest friend, Dan Aquillo. Aquillo's mutilated body was found with the comatose Hurston after his unsuccessful suicide attempt. It seems like an open-and-shut case, until Hurston's former wife is also killed and Aquillo's scalp is found hanging in the tree under which her body was buried. Is there a connection between the two murders and a campaign to limit Indian gaming instigated by Las Vegas gambling interests? Could Aquillo's hotheaded young nephew, who also opposes reservation gambling and hates what it has done to his tribe, be responsible for the scalping--and for the attack on Elizabeth? And is there a connection between Sequoia, the shaman who rescues Elizabeth, and her dead lover? Lawrence spins a taut, dramatic tale, aided by a sympathetic and likable protagonist; it doesn't take tea leaves or crystal balls to predict that this psychic detective will turn up again. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
As she wheels into the parking lot of a big San Diego hospital, private detective Elizabeth Chase (Aquarius Descending, etc.) is filled with doubt about her psychic abilities. After all, she failed to foresee the fatal shooting of her beloved, a cop who quoted Poe. Still, Chase meets lawyer David Skenazy at the hospital. Skenazy's client, Bill Hurston, a former doctor who gambled away his practice and his marriage and is now recovering from an overdose of tranquilizers, is under guard because a bloody, scalped corpse has been found in his hotel room at the gambling casino on the Temecu Indian Reservation. Chase senses sadness in Hurston, not violence. She checks out the crime scene and psychically sees a dark figure fleeing from a closet carrying the hammer that he apparently used to murder Dan Aquillo, the casino's manager and a controversial local hero for bringing gambling to the reservation. That night, Chase gets badly beaten by an unidentified assailant. As she struggles toward consciousness, she sees the face of an Indian with long dark hair. Within days, she encounters the man, Sequoia, on the reservation. The cousin of her best friend, Sequoia is a shaman who admits to appearing to Chase in a spirit body. As Chase closes in on the killer, Sequoia appears at key moments to offer support and to urge her to expand the vision that comes to her naturally. While the telepathic angle that Lawrence works into this competent mystery seems gratuitous, her introduction of modern shamanism to her heroine's adventures is appealing and holds promise for more intriguing tales to come. Agent, Gina Maccoby. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.