Happy Halloween and a Review of Dispel the Mist

Good friend, Pat Browing, reviewed Dispel the Mist.

DISPEL THE MIST by Marilyn Meredith
Mundania Press 2009

Marilyn Meredith lives near California’s Tule River Reservation but her Preface says that her fictional Bear Creek Reservation is just that – fictional; and while Yokuts tribes were the original inhabitants of the San Joaquin Valley, the Yanduchi branch in her Tempe Crabtree mysteries is fictional.

However, the Indian legends in this book are real, beginning with How People Were Made. It features the Hairy Man, who outwitted Coyote in a race to ensure that people would walk upright. The book’s cover is designed from Hairy Man pictographs at Painted Rock on the Tule River.

An excerpt from DISPEL THE MIST can be read on the blog of paranormal fiction author Lynda Hilburn, with this quote from Meredith: “The moment I stepped inside the rock shelter and spotted the pictograph of the Hairy Man and his family, I knew that my heroine, Tempe Crabtree, would not only visit this sacred place at night—which I’d been warned against doing—I also knew she would have an encounter with the Hairy Man.”

The book opens on an uneasy note. Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband Hutch, the community pastor, attend a blessing ceremony at the new Indian casino. The casino manager’s announcement of plans to build a hotel, golf course and indoor amphitheater gets a cool reception from the guest of honor, Lilia Quintera, a member of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.

Meanwhile, another controversy brews at a new gated community nearby. Someone bought one of the larger homes and plans to turn it into a residential facility for developmentally disabled women, much to the displeasure of the other homeowners. Lilia Quintera’s niece Suzy, who has Down Syndrome, will be one of the residents.

Following the facility’s open house and a nasty encounter with a pharmacist named Duane Whitney, Lilia Quintera has a fatal heart attack. Tempe is assigned as a temporary special investigator because of her Indian heritage.

Quintera’s parents are suspicious of Lilia’s husband Wade, a trauma unit nurse with a reputation as a Casanova. When he doesn’t show up at Lilia’s funeral, Tempe goes to the house and finds him bleeding from a half-hearted suicide attempt. Suspicion also falls on Lilia’s younger sister Connie, who is Suzy’s mother. Tempe’s investigation reveals that Connie and Wade were having an affair.

Seeking insight into the tangle of suspects, Tempe calls on Nick Two John who has previously instructed her on how to use the supernatural aspects of her Indian culture. He supervises the kitchen at the Bear Creek Inn, owned by his significant other, Claudia Donato. Construction of a new casino hotel will cut into their business but Tempe dismisses any thought of Nick or Claudia being involved in murder. Nick reminds Tempe that poisonous plants grow wild on the reservation. A few belladonna leaves made into a tea and slipped into Lilia’s cup at the open house could cause a fatal heart attack.

Back on the rez, Tempe sees a coyote and flashes back to her grandmother’s story of how animals scatter to forage for food when People multiply and take over the food supply. Exceptions are Dog, who decides to make friends with People in hopes they will feed him, and Hairy Man, who opts to come out only at night when People are asleep.

A pattern emerges. Grandmother’s stories lead to dreams that become nightmares. A late night phone call warns Tempe to stay away from Painted Rock. Puzzled and curious, Tempe and Hutch go to the rez to visit old acquaintances Jake and Violet. Jake takes them out to Painted Rock, where they see pictographs of animals and Hairy Man. It’s a busy place, with a rehab center and a sweat lodge located nearby, but Jake warns Tempe not to come out at night: “Too many spirits are here at night. Not all of them are good.”

The story builds slowly. This is a small book – 206 pages – and for the first 148 pages Tempe makes a pest of herself, asking questions with no proof that Lilia’s death was anything except a natural heart attack. When the supernatural aspects of Tempe’s Indian heritage kick in the story takes off in a dead run. The killer overplays his hand by luring Tempe out to Painted Rock at night, leading to a heart-stopping denouement.

Readers interested in Bigfoot/Sasquatch legends can read more at The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, http://www.bfro.net

Read Marilyn Meredith’s comments and an excerpt from DISPEL THE MIST at Lynda Hilburn’s blog, http://tinyurl.com/2e3evvq

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book.

Pat Browning
ABSINTHE OF MALICE (Krill Press 2008)
Now on Kindle $2.99

A Big P.S.

I am so thrilled with this interview: http://kindle-author.blogspot.com/2010/10/kindle-author-interview-marilyn.html You'll have to copy and past it, but it's really terrific. Check it out and if so inclined, leave a comment. Anyone else with a book on Kindle, he’s looking for more Kindle authors.



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