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Three Sisters: A Charlie Moon Mystery    by James D. Doss order for
Three Sisters
by James D. Doss
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Once upon a time there were three sisters: Cassandra, the eccentric television psychic; Beatrice, the presumptive artist; and Astrid, the woman who had been married less than a year ago to the man of her dreams, Andrew Turner. This should be something like a modern fairy tale in which everyone lives happily ever after in idyllic west central Colorado. However, there is at the very beginning a rather large problem: the hideously mutilated corpse of Astrid has been discovered in her home at Yellow Pines Ranch. The assumption is that she had been mauled and killed by a bear that had been searching for food and found the unsuspecting Astrid blissfully enjoying a bedtime snack of succulent strawberries.

Now enter Scott Parris, the chief of police in Granite Creek, and Ute tribal investigator Charlie Moon. As they are drawn into investigating Astrid's most unusual death, they begin to share 'a funny feeling that something awfully funny is going on up' in the mountains and countryside surrounding Yellow Pines Ranch.

In short order in Three Sisters, through a dizzying plot that can dazzle even the most seasoned mystery fanatic, Charlie and Scott run up against any number of singular issues that have them scratching their heads in disbelief and confusion: Beatrice marries the not-so-grief stricken Andrew less than a month after Astrid's peculiar and horrible death; Cassandra, a woman of interesting talents, begins to have increasingly bizarre visions of tragic events, including the apparent death of someone recently back from a honeymoon who drove off a nearby mountain road in a sporty Corvette; Charlie Moon's irrepressible elderly aunt, Daisy Perika, a tribal elder and shaman, becomes a guest on Cassandra's television program and makes some startling discoveries about Cassandra's psychic powers; and Parris - and perhaps he is not alone - has a mind-numbing confrontation with something (or someone) in the mountain forest that he thinks may, in fact, be something like Bigfoot (which may or may not have played an important role in whatever had been happening up at Yellow Pines Ranch).

And so it goes in James D. Doss' entertaining new Charlie Moon mystery, the twelfth novel from an accomplished author who is at the top of his form. Full of Native American mysticism, good old fashioned whodunit clues and red herrings, and plenty of colorful characters, Three Sisters is in a special league of its own, especially because of the author's unique narrative style - with his quirky editorial asides and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor - and because of the ways in which the so-called rules of the traditional murder mystery genre have been tweaked, twisted, and transformed into a refreshingly different experience. Enjoy!

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