Author: Sandi Ault
Published: February 2, 2010 by Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin
Series Name: WILD Mystery Series
Category: Southwest Mystery
Main Character: Jamaica Wild-a BLM agent, Mountain-the wolf, Momma Anna-her teacher, Kerry-her boyfriend
WILD PENANCE, the latest in the WILD Mystery Series, opens with a dark and diabolical scene: a man, tied to a cross, his loincloth catching in the wind as he plummets down into the Rio Grande Gorge to his death. That is, if he wasn’t dead already. Rough-and-ready Bureau of Land Management agent Jamaica Wild, who witnesses the sinister event, sets out to determine whether a secret society with rituals as chilling as the desert night air might have been at the heart of this. Ever since she learned about Los Penitentes, a clandestine and 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 fit with everything she has learned. But a haunted old priest warns Jamaica to put down her pencil… Her boss 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… Ault sets a spine-tingling pace that keeps the reader on the edge as well, as a race to the climax causes Jamaica to evaluate what is satanic and what is sacred.