When a snowstorm sweeps the canyon during her search for a wounded mountain lion, BLM agent Jamaica Wild must take refuge in an old Indian School, where children were "Americanized" after being taken from their homes. Exploring, Jamaica discovers the body of an elderly Anglo woman. As arctic temperatures threaten the survival of the mountain lion and her starving cubs—and Jamaica herself and her wolf, Mountain—she is stalked by an unidentified killer.
Sandi gives an overview of the book:
WILD SORROW BY SANDI AULT
Chapter 1: The Predator
This work ©2008 and beyond by Sandi Ault All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.
The wind howled like a broken-hearted woman who had given up on life. I had not meant to come this far, but it was too late now. I had followed the blood, expecting to find a wounded animal. But not this.
It was ten days before Christmas. Before dawn, a shepherd had fired a shot at a shadow that lurked in the scrub, while his sheep huddled into a knot in the arroyo where he'd brush-penned them for the night. He'd wounded the predator without getting a clear view of it, and could not identify what it was. The tribe had reported three sheep kills since they brought their flocks down from the mountains for winter grazing on the high mesas above Tanoah Pueblo. Rumors rose up that wolves, newly reintroduced in the region, were the cause of the attacks. But I suspected a mountain lion, and I rode horseback on the rangelands west of the pueblo with my wolf, Mountain, loping alongside, determined to find out. It was my job—I'm a resource protection agent for the Bureau of Land Management assigned as a liaison to the pueblo. My name is Jamaica Wild.
I followed the tracks of a big cat through the afternoon—losing the trail, doubling back and finding it again as it led out onto a windswept, desolate canyon rim. A storm was building to the west, the billowing sky the color of steel and filled with heavy foreboding. I felt the moisture in the air, the temperature diving. Rooster, the young sorrel I rode, turned skittish, feeling the oncoming tempest. But the wolf didn't seem to notice. He led-darting along with his nose to the ground as we tracked the trail from blood spot to blood spot-stopping when he found sign and scanning the area with his senses. I scanned, too, but I was also calculating time and distance and the torment in the skies, the clouds growing more menacing with every moment.
The ruin stood high on a knoll, visible from a mile away. As we approached, the sound of the gale rushing across the high mesa split into a chorus of voices as it swept along the jagged, stacked-rock walls, over the lips of long-abandoned kivas, and through the crumbling stone shells of the once-tall towers that marked an ancient village.
I looped Rooster's reins around a stone on the ground outside of the ruin wall. Mountain watched me for cues-wolves hunt in packs. "You stay with me, buddy," I whispered. "You stay with me."
I drew my rifle from the saddle scabbard and clicked off the safety.
I love all the WILD Mysteries, but I think WILD SORROW is my best yet. I felt called to tell this heartrending tale, and it worked its way right out of my heart. I think the dark and thrilling aspects of this mystery match the real saga of Indian Boarding Schools in this country in tone and feel. And in the end, I hope it stirs the reader to love life and its beauty all the more.
Sandi Ault is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed WILD Mystery Series, including WILD INDIGO, WILD INFERNO, WILD SORROW, and WILD PENANCE. Ms. Ault's first novel, WILD INDIGO, was the only debut novel ever nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and it...
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