WILD PENANCE by Sandi Ault

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The Spine-Tingling prequel in the WILD MYSTERY Series


WILD PENANCE by Sandi Ault

It was a magnificent sight that Jamaica hopes to never see again: a man, tied to a cross, his loincloth catching in the wind as he plummeted down into the Rio Grande Gorge to his death. That is, if he wasn’t dead already.

Ever since she learned about Los Penitentes, a secret, ancient religious group that reenacts Jesus’ crucifixion and practices excessive penance, Jamaica’s been fascinated, putting together a book of sketchings and research. And this death in the Gorge seems to fits with everything she has learned. But a haunted old priest warns Jamaica to put down her pencil…

Her superiors wouldn’t mind if she kept her nose out of things, either. But too many strange things are happening for Jamaica to pay any mind. For one, her medicine teacher, Momma Anna, has given her a cryptic assignment. And when someone makes an attempt on her life, Jamaica sets out on a fact-finding mission that could very well send her, like the crucified man, over the edge…

From the Preface of WILD PENANCE:

As the elders at Tanoah Pueblo say, this story unfolds time before time. If we watch the hoop of time spinning, we might perceive that it happened first-before all the other stories in the WILD Mystery Series.

            But, as the Tanoah know, all time is now. 


…a riveting story with a wealth of New Mexico color – and a lesson in forgiveness…..Ault, who writes with precision and occasional lyricism, fills in the gaps in this addictively readable installment in her series. –  Richmond Times-Dispatch

If you're looking for a modern-day mystery with likeable people and a believable storyline, local author Sandi Ault's 'Wild' series may be for you . . . a busy tale packed with whiplash plot twists and taut dialogue . . . The author not only infuses great energy and spirit into a story of religion and romance, native cultures and typical BLM procedures, she introduces readers to the little-known world of Los Penitentes, making it almost familiar . . . Ault successfully narrates a story dominated by endless descriptions of natural surroundings . . . The author shares with readers her wildlife expertise and inimitable ability to create complex characters and plot lines full of suspense.  -- Boulder Daily Camera

Ault has created a hero in Jamaica Wild who is independent, strong and appealing with just enough flaws to be fascinating. She then plants Wild in an exotic setting, surrounded by the rugged, beautiful landscape of the remote and Wild West. Then Ault includes a warm, elderly Native American mentor to guide Wild through the tangled maze of pursuing a worthy life . . . . It's another fine addition to the Wild mystery series, and fans will welcome this new adventure. – The Durango Herald

It has all the excitement, mystery, adventure and "on the edge" drama that will keep you turning the pages as fast as you can read them. . . Jamaica led us on one thrilling adventure after another with her ever constant companion, Mountain - her adopted wolf that she raised from a cub. These two characters will grasp hold of your heart and leave you anxiously waiting for their next adventure packed full of daring and dangerous exploits. . . Sandi Ault has a remarkable ability of putting the reader right into the soul of these two adventurers and gives an endearing quality of the love between Jamaica and Mountain. Ault draws the reader right into the midst of the stories, with breath-holding tense moments and a wondering of what is just ahead or around the corner or in the dark nights up on Taos Mountain that holds secrets and age old mysteries. . . As with her first three books, this story is set in the beautiful Taos Pueblo areas of the southwest where sacred traditions are ancient, cultures co-exist between the Puebloan and Spanish peoples, and mysteries run deep. --  Native America Online

 This mystery has it all with tight writing to keep you hooked and enough suspense and humanity to offer an escape into her world Fort Collins Coloradoan

This is easily the best of the three I’ve read in this series, tightly constructed, complex, intelligently plotted, and unraveled in a logical and believable fashion.  Ault is hovering near the threshold for my favorites list.—  A Fan Mystery Blog

Verdict: Ault’s love of the outdoors and her respect for American Indian culture are evident in her vivid descriptions of the culture, people, and northern New Mexico landscape. … Nevada Barr fans and mystery aficionados still mourning the late Tony Hillerman will snap this one up as well as other titles in the Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning series. Enthusiastically recommended. —  Library Journal

Sandi Ault has a fascinating way of crafting a story comprised of "history, mystery, turmoil and place.”As always, the breathtaking descriptions of the world around her and the surprise, intense action leave you shocked and thrilled thoroughly enough to keep turning the pages. — Story Circle Book Review

As Sandi Ault writes, your mind’s eye paints an amazing picture of the desert land full of surprises and mystery. ... From the first page you are spell bound and captivated. … WILD PENANCE will keep you on your toes; looking out for the unseen, and always expecting the unknown. A terrific read that will keep you guessing until the end, and then leave you breathless. — Romance Readers Connection

….a great suspense novel that combines a secretive old Hispanic sect of Catholicism–Los Penitentes— with murder to weave a haunting story. … Ms. Ault’s love of New Mexico richly flavors the pages and her equal love of the wild outdoors brings Jamaica’s soul alive. …The climax is a suspenseful ride and is burned into my memory. . . .it left imagery of New Mexico alive in my being. — MysterySuspenceBlogspot.com

As is the thought expressed by W. H. Auden in his poem on Herman Melville—beyond the terror of life comes the knowledge that goodness exists—so is the thought left after reading WILD PENANCE— Cobbledstones Reviews

Fans are going to love the latest Wild thriller as we are thoroughly drawn into the world of a little known sub-culture…Jamaica is terrific. — Mystery Gazette

…the novel’s lyrical prose depicts the magnificent landscapes of Northern New Mexico and some unusual history. – Poisoned Pen January 2010 Newsletter

As a native New Mexican, and one who is very familiar with the unique ways of this wonderfully magic place, I thank you for getting it. —New Mystery Reader



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