THE SAM CHITTO MYSTERIES
SCALP DANCE A FINALIST FOR 2017 OKLAHOMA BOOK AWARD!
THE BONE PICKER Released April 1 2017
It’s bitter cold in Oklahoma’s Ouachita Wilderness when Detective Sam Chitto of the Choctaw Tribal Police takes on a thirty-five year old cold case involving a missing Vietnam veteran and a murdered couple. The discovery of a man’s skull in the murdered woman’s casket, which her family had disinterred for further investigation, attracts the attention of the veteran’s mother. Believing the skull to be that of her son, she tasks Chitto with becoming a Bone Picker. Because bones survived flesh, Choctaw of old preserved the bones of their deceased, believing their essence dwelled within. Honored people, called Bone Pickers, retrieved the bones and presented them to the family for burial.
When his preliminary investigation reveals former suspects in the old murder inquiry have a shorter-than-average life span, Chitto goes looking for the reason. As he unravels the mystery, long-held secrets that have kept residents living in fear the past thirty-five years begin to crumble.
THE HORNED OWL Releases April 1, 2018!
Mark Twain once said, “Every man is a moon and has a side which he turns toward nobody; you have to slip around behind if you want to see it.” (“The Refuge of Derelicts” 1905). This insight into human nature proves to be the driving force behind Sam Chitto’s pursuit of justice in The Horned Owl. Two Choctaw tribal council members pull Detective Sam Chitto into an unauthorized investigation to prove a teenage boy is innocent of murder and sexual mutilation. Using graphic novels the boy produced, prosecutors enlist the aid of a forensic psychiatrist to prove the boy committed a fantasy murder. Also suspect is the reason the boy gave for being seen near the body after the murder, i.e., the Choctaw deity Ishkitini, the Horned Owl, forewarned him in the night that someone would die violently.
One case investigation becomes two as Chitto realizes the murder occurred close to where his father was killed a decade before. Seizing the opportunity to solve his father’s murder, Chitto investigates both the new murder and the old. Chitto’s efforts to discover the moon side of various characters drives the action in both investigations.
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SEEKING CASSANDRA, WINS OKLAHOMA BOOK AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT FICTION! THE MEDAL WAS AWARDED ON APRIL 8TH AT THE 28TH ANNUIAL OKLAHOMA BOOK AWARDS.
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THE ROAD OF LIFE DESIGN: The half diamond design, according to Buster Ned, "is derived from (the) life of the people. The Choctaw people believed in the Great Spirit (God) in that their life followed an imaginary road. (The design symbolizes) that when they give aid to someone sick, they come off this imaginary road, and when the sick was well, he returned to this road and continued. (Likewise) when he did something bad, he again left the road, only he was on the opposite side, thus the half diamond design." www.oklachata.org