Murder of Ravens
By Paty Jager
Gabriel Hawke #1
Windtree Press, 2019
The ancient Indian art of tracking is his greatest strength…
And also his biggest weakness.
Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke believes he’s chasing poachers. However, he comes upon a wildlife biologist standing over a body that is wearing a wolf tracking collar.
He uses master tracker skills taught to him by his Nez Perce grandfather to follow clues on the mountain. Paper trails and the whisper of rumors in the rural community where he works, draw Hawke to a conclusion that he finds bitter.
Arresting his brother-in-law ended his marriage, could solving this murder ruin a friendship?
Murder of Ravens is a fresh and unique mystery by new-to-me author Paty Jager. This traditional mystery, book #1 in a new series, has good character depth and features a strong Native American character. I can’t explain why, but from the time I read my first Tony Hillerman novel many years ago, I’ve been drawn to mysteries with Native American lead characters, and there’s not a lot to choose from. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written story and am eager to read more of Jager’s writing.
Murder of Raven’s Gabriel Hawke – a Nez Perce/ Cayuse American Indian – is well-drawn, smart, and likeable. I found his gift for tracking fascinating. This skill that his grandfather taught him is a natural fit for his job as an Oregon Fish and Wildlife State Trooper. In a time where most investigations rely on CSI-type science, Gabriel’s keen awareness of his surroundings and attention to detail are refreshing. In fact, when it comes to technology, his digital camera, radio, and cell phone are all that he uses while on duty.
Another interesting facet to Gabriel’s character is that, in the not-too-distant past, his marriage fell apart because he had to arrest his brother-in-law, and a similar situation threatens to come into play here. I also liked how, rather than being all about the murder’s identity, the focus is more on the way things come together at the end, with a surprise or two along the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed Murder of Ravens – some mild profanity being the only negative – and hope for many more books in this series. I also hope to read Jager’s highly-rated Shandra Higheagle series.
I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 35 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them, along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her Shandra Higheagle mystery series has been a runner-up in the RONE Award Mystery category, and a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier.