margaret coel
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        Winter's Child
        Man Who Fell from Sky
        Night of the White Buffalo
        Killing Custer
        Buffalo Bill's Dead Now
        The Perfect Suspect
        The Spider's Web
        Silent Spirit
        Blood Memory
        Girl w/ Braided Hair
        Drowning Man
        Eye of the Wolf
        Wife of Moon
        Killing Raven
        Shadow Dancer
        Thunder Keeper
        Spirit Woman
        Lost Bird
        Story Teller
        Dream Stalker
        Ghost Walker
        Eagle Catcher
readers guides

short stories

wind river




Winter's Child

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The Ghost Walker The Ghost Walker

When Father John O'Malley's pickup breaks down on a lonely reservation road in the midst of a blizzard, the pastor at St. Francis Mission starts out for the highway and stumbles on a body wrapped in a tarp and thrown into a ditch. By the time he returns with the police, the body has disappeared.

Somewhere on the Wind River Reservation is a corpse that has not received a proper burial. The Arapahos believe the spirit cannot find its way to the ancestors in the Sky World without the traditional ceremonies. Lost and frantic, the spirit walks the earth trying to get to the Sky World on its own and causing a great deal of mischief.

But neither Father John nor Vicky Holden, the Arapaho lawyer, believe a ghost is behind the sudden disappearance of Marcus Deppert, a convicted drug-dealer. Nor is a ghost responsible for the merciless murder of the young man's ex-girlfriend.

Despite his own troubles—his beloved St. Francis Mission is about to be sold to outside interests with major development plans—Father John can't forget the lonely body in the ditch. Fearing it was Marcus, he's determined to find out what happened to the young man. As he follows Marcus's trail, he realizes someone is following him....

And he suspects that Susan Holden, Vicky's rebellious, drug-addicted daughter, could be involved in murder—and could be the next intended victim. To protect her daughter, Vicky is willing to pay any price—even that of her own life. The friendship between Father John and Vicky nears the breaking point as they draw upon the Arapaho Way for the help they need to stop a killer, explain the inexplicable, and, finally, put a ghost to rest.

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Readers Guide


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Berkley paperback, September 1997, ISBN: 978-0425159613


"Coel is a vivid voice for the West, its struggles to retain its past and at the same time enjoy the fruits of the future."
The Dallas Morning News

"This is a tautly written, compelling mystery, grounded in and sympathetic to the Arapaho culture."
The Milwaukee Journal

"...another mystery is engagingly constructed...a space where Jesuits and Native Americans can meet in a culture of common decency."
Kirkus Reviews

"The Ghost Walker is a well-crafted adventure. Against a wintertime Wyoming to chill the bones, Coel skillfully meshes her story lines, offering a host of fine characters."
Publishers Weekly

"A corking good outstanding entry in a superior series."
Booklist starred review

"Colorado native, Coel, is to the Arapaho as Tony Hillerman is to the Navajo."

"Interesting views on cultural differences give these novels an edge,..."

"Author Margaret Coel is a writer in command of her craft. This is a fine novel, a worthy contribution to the genre. Not surprising, it's a best-seller... The Ghost Walker is not a mystery puzzle, but rather an engrossing story, peopled with fascinating characters, many of whom this reviewer intends to read more about in the future." Read the full review.