Raven Talks Back is a well written contemporary mystery thriller The setting is a town in Alaska and the time is summer The author introduces Raven Morressey, writing first person, alternating chapters with Police Chief Jack O Banion in third person point of view This works effectively because Raven isn t seeing her life as others do Raven wants to dwell only on the positive aspects of her life with her husband Red and their three children When the body of a woman, headless and handless, is found in Raven s backyard, Raven begins hearing voices and having visions She is an Alaskan native by heritage and believes the murder has somehow triggered a psychic connection to her ancestors Two gruesome murders occur in short order Raven and Jack s lives are dramatically changed by what each finds out regarding the suspects This book will hold the reader s interest from beginning to end I have recently had the enjoyment of reading a number of mystery novels from small presses that are quality books neglected by major reviewers, and this is one I would recommend. Raven Morressey Is Living The Good Life Nice Home, Husband, Three Healthy Children, And It S Finally Summertime, When Life Is Again Lovely In Valdez, Alaska All This Explodes One Morning When Builders, Digging Up Her Back Yard, Uncover A Recently Murdered Headless, Handless Female Body Covered With Scarification Hundreds Of Colored Designs Cut Into The Skin To Resemble Tattoos As If This Isn T Enough, Where The Corpse S Head Should Have Been Is A Large Rock With A Face Painted On That Resembles An Alaska Native Mask Raven S Eight Year Old Son, Timmy, Is The First One To See The Body And Is Suddenly Unable To Walk Or Respond In Any Way On That Same Day, Raven Hears The Voice Of Her Long Dead Athabascan Father Coming From Timmy, Who Is Unaware Of The Ancient Hunting Chants He Sings In His Sleep And The Words He Suddenly Speaks In Raven S Native Tongue A Language He Does Not KnowJack O Banion, Valdez S Chief Of Police For The Past Few Years, Faced With His First Murder Case In Valdez, Begins His Official Investigation Everywhere He Goes He Finds Nothing But Deception The Town Seems To Have Closed Into Itself And Nobody Will Tell Him Anything That Might Help Him Solve This Case Then One Murder Quickly Morphs Into Two, Then Three, And The Alaska State Troopers Are Hot On His Back To Find The Killer NowBetween Raven S Voices And The Visions She Develops, And Jack, Whose Career As Well As His Contented Life In Valdez Are On The Line, They Both Feel They Have To Find The Killer And Restore Some Sanity To The Town Not To Mention Their Own Lives, Which Are Quickly Unraveling Out Of Control Raven Talks Back has a beautiful, lyrical opening that captures the mood of the Alaskan setting and draws you right in Raven is a good character who gains strength as she finds her way through the mystery, her life, and her own shattered dreams All the characters are deep and layered, people you can believe in even if you don t always like some of them But the setting is magnificent Ms Anderson lets you breathe the air and smell the fresh pines in the wind Her descriptions, which are never overdone, let you see Valdez through the characters eyes I didn t guess whodunnit till late in the book There are plenty of red herrings with good motives, but the clues are there I just didn t spot them till near the end This is a good read, and I loved it I think this is the beginning of a new series I m ready for the next one. Loved this book I hope there are featuring Rave and Jack. It was nice to learn about Valdez, Alaska, than I knew from reading about that oil spill I was intrigued by the supernatural spiritual elements that played a part in solving three grisly murders. As a mystery, it was OK, and she certainly knew Vadez AK well, but she had the Native population as Yu pik, which is a group of Eskimo, rather than Chugachmiut, a group of Athabascan, which leads me to wonder about some of her other cultural references I was disappointed. Good characters, atmosphere, mystery one of the best mysteries that I ve read recently Thanks to DorothyL for pointing me to it.