Picture of Lies
by C.C. Harrison
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432825065
Date: 21 October 2011 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Keegan Thomas, investigative journalist, finds more trouble than she needs when she goes to Monument Valley to find the people in an old photograph of her grandfather. Lies and evasions follow and she has no idea whom to trust. Then a violent murder kills the one person who agreed to talk with her.
Two years before, Keegan's young daughter Daisy disappeared from a public beach in San Diego and the police have not found her. Keegan then focused on writing articles on missing children and hoped it might also help her to find her daughter. As she investigates the history of the picture, she discovers a Navajo child was taken away years ago and was lost to the tribe.
Keegan is self-reliant and spunky. Despite doing some stupid things, she still survives to pursue her quest for the kidnapped child. A few surprises ensue from that search. The supposed mother claims she never had a child. Someone is determined to keep the fate of the child secret. It also reaches deep in to the secret files of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Navajos are suing the agency for mismanagement of tribal funds and powerful people do not want the information released. A helpful archivist tries to help her.
Someone pursues Keegan and she suffers plenty of punishment, but keeps going determined to survive and solve the mystery of the child and find the recent killer of an old Navajo woman. She gets some help from Dante Corvelli, a freelance archeologist. At first, he suspects she is a nosy reporter, but gradually discovers she is a caring person and not hunting him. A nice romance develops.
Set in Navajo country, many readers will compare Harrison to Tony Hillerman. However, her sleuth is a writer and non-Indian although her grandfather once worked for BIA health services. The ending and the motive has a lot in common with L.C. Hayden's When Death Intervenes. Harrison provides a smooth read with plenty of action and some twists to keep the readers enthralled. She has written a number of mysteries and romantic suspense novels.