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'Wild Inferno' mystery light but enjoyable

“Wild Inferno” by Sandi Ault. Berkeley Publishing Group. New York. 2008. 287 pp. $23.95.By John Whitfield
For the Salisbury Post
Sandi Ault introduced Land Management Agent Jamaica Wild and her pet wolf Mountain in an earlier book, “Wild Indigo.” The two are back in “Wild Inferno” as Jamaica investigates a murder while fighting fire in the American Southwest.
It is a good although not a great read, made more interesting by inclusion of Native American lore and firefighting action.
Called to the site of a firefighting headquarters, Jamaica is sent into a Southern Ute reservation to search for a missing man, Grandpa Ned. Unable to find him and forced to flee before an approaching firestorm, Jamaica discovers a smoldering firefighter who whispers a cryptic message to her.
When Grandpa Ned’s body is found later, Jamaica is pulled into the murder investigation in view of her experience with both Southern Ute and Pueblo communities.
As it happens, the Puebloans are preparing to observe a lunar event which occurs every 18 years. The tradition is important to them and they are reluctant to abandon the celebration even to flee the spreading fire.
The author clearly has much acquaintance with Native American life and the story is a vehicle which provides interesting information about their culture and values.
Jamaica perseveres in her investigation while working to save the Puebloans and avoiding being trapped by the fire.
How she solves the mystery of Grandpa Ned and the strange message provides an enjoyable tale, with intriguing twists and turns. The reader is likely to finish the book with a greater appreciation of firefighters and for Native American culture and traditions.
John Whitfield spends a lot of his free time reading.

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