Reviewer: Mary Lignor
Title: Wild Penance - 4th in the Wild Mystery series
Author: Sandi Ault
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: February 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Northern New Mexico
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Moderate/Intense
Sandi's Website/Blog: www.sandiault.com
A spellbinding tale with wonderful descriptions of New Mexico. The author pens this book with perfection about a secret, and ancient religious group that practices extreme rituals as cold as the desert that they are practiced in.
This fourth installment in the Wild Mysteries, set in or near Taos in Northern New Mexico, is a real page-turner that you don't want to miss. Jamaica Wild, who is an agent with the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management witnesses a sight, that she hopes she will never see again. While going for a morning run she sees a man, tied to a cross, dressed in a loin cloth, thrown off the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. There have been many suicides at this location as the depth of the canyon is 650 feet to the river and is in a very remote location. But, of course, this is not a suicide.
Jamaica has been studying a secret cult called Los Penitentes. This group reenacts Jesus' crucifixion and practices excessive self-punishment for their sins. She has been putting together a book of drawings and history of this society. She refuses to take seriously warnings that she should stop this practice, even when someone tries to harm her. If she keeps it up she may be the next one to fly off the bridge.
This is a good book with wonderful stories and descriptive passages about Northern New Mexico. The subject matter is not one of my favorites but, I must admit I was fascinated by the way the group lived and what they were involved in. Living in New Mexico for a few years made it more interesting as I've seen some of these locations. New Mexico can be very desolate in places but, it is surely a beautiful and enchanted land. So, enjoy and I'll talk to you soon.
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