Someone is trying to kill Catherine McLeod.
Catherine is an investigative reporter for a major Denver newspaper. At first she thinks someone wants her dead because of what she must have written for the paper. But soon she realizes that she has been targeted for death because of what she might write in the future. She has no idea of what that might be.
As an assassin closes in, Catherine finds herself in a race for her life to uncover the story that someone is determined to keep hidden. Soon she realizes the story revolves around a massacre of Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians in 1864the Sand Creek Massacreand the efforts of the tribes to build a 300 million dollar casino on the plains close to Denver. But behind the headlines, Catherine comes to understand, is the real story of what happened in the past, a story buried for one hundred and fifty years.
And behind the facts of that story is someone who wants her dead.
The race to uncover the truth takes Catherine through the streets and neighborhoods of Denver to the power centers of Washington, D.C. Desperate to stay one step ahead of the assassin stalking her, Catherine sheds her old identity and everything familiar in her life, gradually becoming someone else. Along the way, she must come to terms with her own past and the Arapaho blood that she had never acknowledged. But only by facing the past can she write a story never before told and, ultimately, save her own life.
Blood Memory is page-turning suspense, and Margaret Coel is at the top of her game.
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Berkley paperback, September, 2009, ISBN: 978-0425230268
#1 on Rocky Mountain News bestseller list
#1 on Boulder Camera
#2 on The Denver Post
Listed as one of the Best Mystery-Crime Novels of 2008 in the fall issue of Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine
"Coel introduces a tenacious heroine, Denver investigative reporter Catherine McLeod, in this stellar first in a new series. After an attempt on her life, Catherine realizes she was far from a random target when Arapaho elder Norman Whitehorse informs her that she's "one of us." Adopted as a child and still unsure of her identity and heritage, Catherine begins to understand the deep connection she feels to her latest story, about the 1864 Indian massacre at Sand Creek. Whitehorse and Cheyenne leaders call for the tribes' further compensation for Sand Creek, but when Catherine starts digging, she realizes that there's more to the land fight than meets the eye, and the trail leads all the way to Washington. With a killer hot on her heels and his collateral damage accumulating, Catherine hurtles toward a conclusion that's both fitting and unanticipated. A cameo appearance by Coel's usual leading lady, Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden (The Girl with Braided Hair, etc.), hints at a much welcome future collaboration between these two crime-solving women." (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"An investigative reporter's knowledge may make her an assassin's target. Walking her dog late one night, Catherine McLeod senses that she's being followed by a rapist. She dashes home to call Maury Beekner, her divorce lawyer and friend, and the police, who arrive just in time to chase off the man who's shot Maury. Catherine keeps working as Maury fights for his life. She thinks the shooting was a random act of violence, but the police disagree. Her recently divorced husband, scion of one of Denver's first families, offers her a refuge at the well-guarded family ranch while she continues the work her Native American background got her hooked on. Her biggest story, on an Arapaho and Cheyenne land claim based on the genocidal Sand Creek Massacre, sends her hunting down historical documents and digging into the political battle between the long-entrenched Colorado senator and the new governor. Leaving the ranch, she narrowly escapes death when the killer strikes again. Going on the run, Catherine cuts and dyes her hair and changes hotels, trying to stay ahead of the ruthless assassin while sending in copy on a story that's become front-page news. She fights to discover the truth about the land deal and her unknown ancestors before the assassin kills her.
Coel's departure from her Wind River Reservation series (The Girl with the Braided Hair, 2007, etc.) is a fine combination of historical detail, mystery and pulse-pounding terror."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"At first, Denver investigative reporter Catherine McLeod thought someone was trying to kill her because of an article she wrote, but soon she figures it has to do with something she might writeand she has no idea which story it could be. As the body count rises, Catherine realizes the story revolves around the massacre of Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians more than a hundred years before and the very modern multimillion-dollar casino the tribes want to build.
From Denver to Washington, through the loss of good friends and the disillusionment of lovers, Catherine leaves everything familiar to find the answers for a story that will change, and could possibly save, her life."
Romantic Times (4 starred review)
"The Wind River Series featuring Father John O'Malley and Vicky Holden, set on the Arapaho Reservation, established the author as a writer of sensitivity and compassion for the Indian culture. Now she has written a standalone, with a past tragedy which took place during the mid-19th century known as the Sand Creek Massacre playing a key role in present-day Native American affairs.
Written with the author's accustomed feeling and fluidity, the novel takes Catherine on a whirlwind experience of terror until the end. The combination of history and contemporary Native American affairs involving how badly they were treated in the past and today's gaming business is an intriguing concept. Massacred in the beginning and taken advantage of today. Well worth reading, the novel is recommended."
Gloria Feit, Crimespree Magazine
"Blood Memory is Coel's first stand-alone book and is a riveting mystery based in both today and 100 years ago when local, peaceful tribes were slaughtered at Sand Creek by a local militia. Coel does a masterful job of creating characters that live and breathe with an intensity that kept me up well into the night."
Books 'N Bytes
"Coel may have departed from her usual setting, but her latest novel still probes into the history of the Arapahos, and the exploitation of the tribes. Her fans will not be disappointed with a cameo appearance by Vicky Holden, the Arapaho lawyer in her popular series. Most of all, fans will not be disappointed in the strong new character of Catherine McLeod. There's also an interesting police detective, Nick Bustamante, who offers possibilities if this book ever becomes the first in a series. Blood Memory is a taut story, a page turner that will keep the reader involved. Coel's book has an explosive beginning, and ends with a bang."
Lesa Holstine (read about Margaret Coel's visit to the Mesquite Public Library here)
"This novel begins a new series for the author, but retains much of what made her Wind River Reservation Mysteries (The Drowning Man, The Girl With The Braided Hair) so involving. The characters are all deep and developed very well; the issues relevant. The history of the native peoples is included as an integral part of the story. The reader meets the assassin quite early on in the story, but knowing who he is and how he works takes nothing away from the suspense of discovering his motives, or when he'll strike next. This is a fine novel and an excellent introduction to the author for new readers."
"...a haunting suspense story. Blood Memory is a many-layered story, beautifully written. Coel keeps up the suspense until the very last page."
"In Blood Memory, Margaret Coel gives readers a gripping story, rich in Native American culture and U.S. history, and starring an engaging heroine, who is both tough and vulnerable."
"Reporter Catherine Macleod finds herself in the midst of the story of the year, but being the center of what could be a hot murder case is not exactly what she wants. Her investigations into injustices done to the local Native American tribes seems to have riled someone with enough funds to pay an assassin to take her down. Though that should spell instant death for her, instead the killer keeps missing her and piling up collateral damage among her loved ones. As she loses what she holds dear, Catherine realizes something more sinister is going on and that there are fates worse than death.
If you have wanted to try this talented, prolific author but not wanted to jump into the middle of a series, then this first volume in a new one is the ideal time to give her a try. Catherine is an immediately likeable heroine who will make you care about her suspense filled situation in an instant. Moreover, there is clearly in depth research into the real life facts that add color and background to this story, making it more vibrant and seem more like something that might actually take place. The ending will surely blow you away, but I won't spoil it for you."
"Catherine, a new character for Coel, quickly proves herself to be a resourceful, competent woman who's created a new life after an unhappy, but friendly divorce. She now has a job she loves and is good at. Her dog Rex is the only close companion she seems to need. An adopted child, she occasionally wishes she knew more about her real family, even though she loves her adopted mother. But she is content with her life. Supporting characters, such as several Indian elders and some Colorado politicians, are also realistically drawn with a believable balance of the good, the greedy, and the manipulative. Her handsome, soon to be remarried ex-husband, is still attracted to her, but she eventually discovers he too has serious problems. And Detective Bustamante is attractive and helpful, but he seems to be a very professional cop who would not let personal feelings affect his job. Even the stalker intrigues us. Who hired him and why is he taking his time completing his kill?
This suspenseful cat and mouse game is not set on an Indian reservation, like Coel's other mysteries, but there is a lot of interesting, relevant Native American background on treaties, old massacres, and current day politics. In her investigation, Catherine even discovers something about her own life. In fact, Catherine could easily become a strong series character.
Smooth writing, expert plotting, and an appealing protagonist, combined with fast-paced action, makes this an exciting read. Definitely recommended."
Beverly DeWeese, Deadly Pleasures