Mesa Verde Victim
August 2020 | Fiction | 978-1-948814-23-2 | 249 pp | $15.95
In a fast-paced tale of deadly intrigue, archaeologist Chuck Bender and his brother-in-law, Clarence Ortega, are falsely accused of murder when Chuck’s files are ransacked and the bullet-riddled body of a longtime archaeologist friend, Barney Keller, is found in Chuck’s back alley. In a quest to clear their names, Chuck and Clarence team with Chuck’s paramedic wife, Janelle Ortega, and their young daughters, tracking the unknown killer first to the hidden reinterment site of a legendary North American mummy north of the mountain town of Durango, Colorado, then to the site of a secretive archaeological dig in rugged Gunnel Canyon on the edge of Mesa Verde National Park. There, they learn of the rumored existence of spiritually significant burial vessels, known as canopic jars, reputedly made by the Ancestral Puebloan people who thrived in the cliff-walled canyons of Mesa Verde a thousand years ago. If the canopic jars exist, the vessels would radically alter the contemporary understanding of Ancestral Puebloan culture, making them invaluable—and perhaps worth killing over.