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White Shell Woman: A Charlie Moon Mystery (Charlie Moon Mysteries) Hardcover – January 8, 2002

35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Early in Doss's seventh book (after 2001's Grandmother Spider) about former Ute policeman turned cattle rancher Charlie Moon, Charlie's old Aunt Daisy a tribal shaman and all-around tough cookie is being bored to tears by an equally elderly Navajo man who recounts a long story about the origins of two Southern Colorado landmarks, Chimney Rock and Companion Rock. "Daisy was familiar with the myths. The tales varied, depending on whether a Zuni, Hopi, Apache, or Navajo was doing the telling... Daisy groaned inwardly. Like most old men, this one liked to tell stories she had no particular interest in hearing." Sadly, many readers will be forced to agree with Daisy: despite Doss's deep knowledge of the environment and of Native American patterns of speech and thought, this may be one book too many about clashes between ancient and modern customs leading to loss of life. We've tramped over this ground before with Doss himself, with Tony Hillerman, with Margaret Coel and all the other literary anthropologists who created this new genre. Moon is still as tall and as charming to women as ever; his aunt's crusty exterior still covers genuine affection and a shrewd mind; but this tale of Anasazi ruins, of feuding academics, of grave robbery and murders to cover it up, carries a mythic familiarity that's hard to shake off or make interesting. (Jan. 1)Forecast: With Grandmother Spider, one of the weaker titles in the series, Doss's net sales went up 50% which suggests the mystery public's appetite for Native-American sleuths is far from sated. That Doss takes a light approach helps set him apart from the pack.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Ute tribal investigator Charlie Moon (Grandmother Spider) visits some Anasazi ruins, which his shaman aunt says are cursed by fire. When two burned bodies are discovered, he almost believes her. With his aunt's gifts and help from his friend the police chief, Moon finds a killer. Great stuff; for Tony Hillerman fans.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Charlie Moon Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (January 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060199326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060199326
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

JAMES D. DOSS is the author of twelve Charlie Moon mysteries, two of which were named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly. Originally from Kentucky, he divides his time between Los Alamos and Taos, New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on May 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Charlie Moon is retired from the Reservation Police but when murder strikes a beautiful Ute woman, he can't help being interested--especially when the tribal leaders ask him to return to work part time as a private investigator. Without the politics of the local police, he has an ideal situation--at least as far as work goes. As far as his ranch, his psychic aunt, and his love life go, things are not so great.
Legends of an ancient Anasazi treasure have haunted the Utes for years. Now someone is digging, disturbing the remains of buried Indians and the work of the archeologists trying to uncover the history of this region. Simply disturbing archeological sites is bad enough, but when one of the students is murdered, rumors start to spread about the ghosts of the Anasasi protecting their treasures and of a shape-shifter walking the ruins. Moon doesn't believe in shape-shifters--although his aunt certainly does. But when the uncle of the victim disappears leaving nothing but his clothes, his dentures, and a pile of ashes and bone chips, Moon is certain that the mystic forces his aunt can't leave alone are somehow involved.
Author James D. Doss (click here to see booksforabuck.com reviews of other novels by this author) combines a fine touch for characters (especially Moon's aunt), respect for the Native American heritage that makes up so critical an element in his stories, and pure adventure to deliver a fine light read. Charlie Moon is a sympathetic character now blessed with a ranch that can't make a nickle, a dog that steals anything he tries to eat, an aunt who can't help being cranky, and a girlfriend who seems to show up only at the worst possible moment.
Fans of the Charlie Moon series will definitely want to read this one. Tony Hillerman fans who haven't discovered Doss will be overjoyed by this addition to the short list of excellent authors writing Native American mystery.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Marlene J. Geary on March 9, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book because I read the reviews saying he was part Carl Hiaasen, part Tony Hillerman -- well, I find Mr. Doss a LOT closer to Hillerman than to Hiaasen. I laugh my way through Hiaasen's books, and that didn't happen here, although there were a few moments when I laughed out loud.
The first 100 pages were slow going, and I almost gave up, until the book started to get into stride. The second hundred pages have been pretty quick and the third hundred pages are racing by. So, the book is worth it if you can make it past the first 100 pages.
Daisy Perika, the Ute elder shamaness who is Charlie Moon's aunt (Charlie Moon is the central character in this series of books) is the best character in the book and worth the read altogether. I'd like to read more about her, so I'm probably going to buy more of this series.
Doss has an annoying habit of using half sentences that should be employed rarely for effect rather than all the time. Things like "Which was the idea." or "And that was the idea."
So, he's not Carl Hiaasen by any stretch of the imagination, but he's good and I'm glad I picked up the book. Entertaining, even if you have to go on the web and look up some Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico geographic locations. Doss assumes we know where or what the Columbine is (other than a flower or a high school).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Do-N-MyBest on March 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Working my way through the Charlie Moon series. Love the locale and the Native American theme. Enjoy Charlie's mindset and how he sees life. Aunt Daisy adds a nice twist to the books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yarnover Chicago on April 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read that James D. Doss is the new Tony Hillerman. Not so. Hillerman wrote in spare, unadorned prose that was a pleasure to read. He created unforgettable characters who stayed with the reader long after each book was read. Doss creates a fun story and likable characters, but he smothers them in such ridiculously florid writing that it's a struggle to get through his novels. He could delete 3/4 of the adjectives he uses without changing the stories one bit.

If you're looking for a Tony Hilkerman replacement, you'll have to look elsewhere.
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By Nash Black VINE VOICE on October 29, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Vindictive tribal politics puts Charlie on the sideline as a policeman, but the tribal chairman hires him as a special investigator or as his friends sneer a PI. The change in status is just in time to investigate the brutal murder of a young student who may have discovered the location of a legendary Anasazi artifact.
Sweetwater directions are clear and broad, investigate anything that concerns the tribe. Charlie gets too close to a killer and endures a two-week stay in the hospital with injuries that produce hallucinations or change his perspective.
Daisy Perika, acting on instructions visits Charlie in his new home to take care of him. Culture and purpose clash between aunt and nephew in this well constructed detective story.
WHITE SHELL WOMAN, from start to finish is a great read.
Nash Black, author of TRAVELERS and SINS OF THE FATHERS
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Format: Kindle Edition
I would highly recommend this installment in James Doss' series starring a Ute reservation officer, in this book newly committed to running a big ranch when he's asked for his help...again. There is a mysterious petroglyph discovered by a child, followed by several grizzly murders in the vicinity of the find. Lots of suspects and twists and turns in the plot, excellent reading. If you like the Tony Hillerman series about Navajos, then this series of mysteries will suit you too. Well done, good reads and the characters are fully developed, robust.
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