Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Spotlight Review: NAKED EDGE by Pamela Clare
I-Team Series, Book 4
Denver, Colorado – Present Day
Gabriel Rossiter works as a Boulder Mountain Parks Ranger and is living his life on the edge. He loves mountain climbing, the higher the mountain, and the harder and more risky the better. Three years ago his fiancée, Jill, died, and Gabe hasn’t been the same since. He has sex with indiscriminate women and leaves, never forging any kind of relationship; he’s only in it for the sex. One night Gabe is sent to a rockslide at Eldorado State Park where a woman fell during a rockslide. Against all odds, Gabe finds the woman dragging a broken ankle behind her as she tries to crawl to safety. Gabe learns Katherine James is a Dine’, or Navajo, and he’s astounded by her courage and strength. Three months later, Gabe is called to a sweat lodge inipi ceremony where he sees a woman dragged out of the lodge by her hair by a police officer. The Boulder Mountain Parks has jurisdiction at Mesa Butte, not the police, and when Gabe finds out the woman is Katherine, he jumps into action as other Navajo are forced out of the lodge. Grandpa Red Crow is the leader of the ceremony, and the Mesa is sacred Navajo land where they have Federal permission to perform their religious rituals.
Katherine was born to a Navajo mother and a white father, with whom her mother had an affair. She was never accepted by the rest of her family, and only her grandmother taught her the Navajo way. Kat moved from her reservation and is a reporter and member of the Denver Independent’s Investigative team (I-team). Grandpa Red Crow accepted her into Denver and was a beloved mentor and teacher for her of her heritage. When Kat tries to investigate why the police came to the sweat lodge to interrupt the group of Navajo’s weekly service she starts something that will start murder and torture before it ends.
Gabe is fascinated by Kat, but when he asks her out and she tells him she’s saving herself for a man who will love her and their children, he is immediately put off. He gets it and gets out, and he sees no reason to change that scenario even though Kat is definitely a woman different from any he’s ever met. After Grandpa Red Crow dies falling off Mesa Butte, or is murdered, Kat has several attempts on her life, and when Gabe gets fired, he assigns himself to be her bodyguard. But we all know what forced togetherness does; can Kat keep her vow to remain a virgin? Gabe will fascinate us as he tries to control himself and let Kat remain a virgin, too, despite what he really wants to do. Let’s hope they have more strength together than apart.
Pamela Clare has penned a story straight from the pages of today’s news. What I found fascinating was how the newspaper’s investigation is so important to the story, now that many newspapers are going under. The newspaper can obtain state records and go over them, take the time to inform the public for more than a two-minute sound bite as on television, and performs a necessary public service. Written from Gabe’s and Kat’s points of view, they are both wounded people: Kat by her upbringing and treatment by her family, and Gabe by the death of his fiancée. I guarantee by the end of the book your eyes will be tearing up over the emotions and love for the earth and her heritage that Kat will engender in you.
Secondary characters are Grandpa Red Crow and Kat’s co-workers, including some friends who know more about how to protect her from death threats. Sgt. Frank Daniels keeps up his goal of hurting the Navajos, and there’s Gabe’s boss, Chief Ranger Webb, trying to keep the peace between them, and other Navajos trying to live their quiet lives without disruption from the authorities.
NAKED EDGE is a different kind of story with emotion, Navajo heritage, and evil men trying to kill Kat—why, I’ll leave it to you to find out. I have talked to a Navajo I know and the story is culturally correct and will grip your senses. The I-Team Series includes EXTREME EXPOSURE (2005), HARD EVIDENCE (2006), UNLAWFUL CONDUCT (2008), and features stories about some of the other members of the I-Team that help Gabe and Kat. You’ll love this series and enjoy an afternoon immersing yourself in a culture that is fascinating.