The Hatak witches

Devon A. Mihesuah, 1957-

Book - 2021

"After a security guard is found dead and another wounded at the Children's Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma, Choctaw detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson are summoned to investigate. The detectives are baffled at the lack of fingerprints, footprints, or any obvious means to enter the locked building. The only initial clues are owl feathers found scattered in the basement. While perusing old archival records, Monique discovers that the motive for t...he crimes was to steal an ancient and deformed half-human, half-bird skeleton from the seldom-used and neglected physical anthropology archives known as the 'Room of Secrets.' She consults with her uncle, the spiritual leader Leroy Bear Red Ears, who concludes that the stolen remains are those of Hatak haksi, a witch and the matriarch of the Crow family, a group of centuries-old Choctaws who can shift into ishkitini-great horned owls. The witch's pelvis was left behind, however, because it did not fit through the air duct the owls used to escape the museum. Monique, Leroy, and Chris, along with her cousins Dustin and Andrew, plan to confront the Crows. The problem is that the Crows inhabit the Choctaws' mythological underground tunnel, the dark passage the tribe traveled after their creation eons ago. One of the cave's entrances is located on Chalakwa Ranch, a property owned by Monique's cousin Andrew. It is a treacherous place for the group to challenge the Crow family, but aided by Leroy's wisdom, the witch's missing pelvis, and the unexpected appearance of the Old Ones who guard the lands of Choctaw afterlife, Monique and her colleagues manage to defeat the Crows"--Provided by publisher.

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Series
Sun tracks ; v. 88.
Subjects
Genres
Paranormal fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Fantasy fiction
Published
Tucson : The University of Arizona Press [2021]
Language
English
Physical Description
302 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780816541188
0816541183
Main Author
Devon A. Mihesuah, 1957- (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

As informative as it is gripping, this supernatural mystery from Mihesuah (The Roads of My Relations)—the 88th installment of Sun Tracks: An American Indian Literary series—is rooted in Choctaw cosmology and contemporary Native American life. Set on Oklahoma's Chalakwa Ranch, the story follows Det. Monique Blue Hawk as she investigates a break-in and the murder of a security guard at a nearby children's museum. The thieves stole ancient, unidentified human remains from the museum's collection, and Monique soon links the crime to a family of shape-shifting witches. As Monique's investigation pulls her deeper into the supernatural, Mihesuah expertly weaves in Choctaw legends and superstitions, including the belief that owls, a recurring motif throughout the novel, are omens of bad luck. The author's ability to immerse the reader in the lives of her characters is prodigious, making the social realism of Monique's life as fascinating as the supernatural elements. The only flaw is the repetitive exposition of the details of the mystery, but this is easy to forgive as the suspense mounts. Readers looking for intelligent, diverse supernatural fiction will be captivated. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

As informative as it is gripping, this supernatural mystery from Mihesuah (The Roads of My Relations)—the 88th installment of Sun Tracks: An American Indian Literary series—is rooted in Choctaw cosmology and contemporary Native American life. Set on Oklahoma's Chalakwa Ranch, the story follows Det. Monique Blue Hawk as she investigates a break-in and the murder of a security guard at a nearby children's museum. The thieves stole ancient, unidentified human remains from the museum's collection, and Monique soon links the crime to a family of shape-shifting witches. As Monique's investigation pulls her deeper into the supernatural, Mihesuah expertly weaves in Choctaw legends and superstitions, including the belief that owls, a recurring motif throughout the novel, are omens of bad luck. The author's ability to immerse the reader in the lives of her characters is prodigious, making the social realism of Monique's life as fascinating as the supernatural elements. The only flaw is the repetitive exposition of the details of the mystery, but this is easy to forgive as the suspense mounts. Readers looking for intelligent, diverse supernatural fiction will be captivated. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"After a security guard is found dead and another wounded at the Children's Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma, Choctaw detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson are summoned to investigate. The detectives are baffled at the lack of fingerprints, footprints, or any obvious means to enter the locked building. The only initial clues are owl feathers found scattered in the basement. While perusing old archival records, Monique discovers that the motive for the crimes was to steal an ancient and deformed half-human, half-bird skeleton from the seldom-used and neglected physical anthropology archives known as the 'Room of Secrets.' She consults with her uncle, the spiritual leader Leroy Bear Red Ears, who concludes that the stolen remains are those of Hatak haksi, a witch and the matriarch of the Crow family, a group of centuries-old Choctaws who can shift into ishkitini-great horned owls. The witch's pelvis was left behind, however, because it did not fit through the air duct the owls used to escape the museum. Monique, Leroy, and Chris, along with her cousins Dustin and Andrew, plan to confront the Crows. The problem is that the Crows inhabit the Choctaws' mythological underground tunnel, the dark passage the tribe traveled after their creation eons ago. One of the cave's entrances is located on Chalakwa Ranch, a property owned by Monique's cousin Andrew. It is a treacherous place for the group to challenge the Crow family, but aided by Leroy's wisdom, the witch's missing pelvis, and the unexpected appearance of the Old Ones who guard the lands of Choctaw afterlife, Monique and her colleagues manage to defeat the Crows"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

After a security guard is found dead and another wounded at the Children’s Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma, Detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson are summoned to investigate. They find no fingerprints, no footprints, and no obvious means to enter the locked building. Monique discovers that a portion of an ancient and deformed skeleton had also been stolen from the neglected museum archives. Her uncle, the spiritual leader Leroy Bear Red Ears, concludes that the stolen remains are those of Hatak haksi, a witch and the matriarch of the Crow family, a group of shape-shifting Choctaws who plan to reestablish themselves as the powerful creatures they were when the tribe lived in Mississippi. Monique, Leroy, and Chris must stop the Crows, but to their dread, the entities have retreated to the dark and treacherous hollow in the center of Chalakwa Ranch. The murderous shape-shifters believe the enormous wild hogs, poisonous snakes, and other creatures of the hollow might form an adequate defense for Hatak haksi. But what no one counts on is the unexpected appearance and power of the Old Ones who guard the lands of the Choctaw afterlife. Blending tribal beliefs and myths into a modern context, The Hatak Witches continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in Devon A. Mihesuah’s award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations.  

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A baffling museum murder that appears to be the work of twisted human killers results in an unexpected and violent confrontation with powerful shape-shifters for Choctaw detective Monique Blue Hawk. Blending tribal beliefs and myths into a modern context, The Hatak Witches continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in Devon A. Mihesuah’s award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations.