The Canyon's Edge
by Nancy Nielson Redd
Trafford Publishing

"Because of our personal ties, I'll give you a few hours to think about this. Make no mistake; the sky is falling on this."

The hauntingly beautiful desert landscapes of the Southwest have inspired many authors to use it as a backdrop for their stories. Additionally, writers such as Tony Hillerman and Margaret Coel have used their understanding of Native American culture to craft superb mysteries which are infused with the lore of the people they have studied. Redd follows a similar approach with her novel, capitalizing both on her thirty years of owning and operating a trading post on the Navajo Reservation of Arizona and on her wealth of knowledge of the region.

Maggie, a middle-aged mother of two grown children, has recently been abandoned by her husband of twenty-five years. In an attempt to regain some focus, she signs up for an art workshop conducted by a good friend at her gallery in Sedona. What she doesn't plan on, though, is stumbling over a body and becoming embroiled in a mystery involving drug smuggling, infidelity, and murder. As she finds herself drawn deeper into her friends' problems, she will learn just how potentially fatal her interest may turn out to be.

Redd's novel is both well-paced and well-written. Most of her characters are fairly well developed, and their reactions to the circumstances they find themselves in are both understandable and believable. But what really makes this book stand out is her blending of Navajo practices and worldview into the narrative along with her detailed descriptions of Sedona and many of its related New Age beliefs, all of which will be very familiar to those who have spent much time in the area. These aspects alone make the book an interesting read.

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