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The Shaman Sings (Charlie Moon #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  983 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
The howling Coyote, messenger of the dwarf master pitukupf and dancing balls of fire, the bruja. These are the omens that appear to the aged Ute shaman Daisy Perika and her shepherd friend Nahum Yaciiti. Omens signaling the work of the Dark One among the matukach, the white people in this southwestern corner of Colorado. The brutal, late-night murder of graduate student Pr ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 1st 1995 by Avon (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,106)
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Randee Baty
May 13, 2014 Randee Baty rated it liked it
It seems like I compare books to food a lot lately so this one reminds me of casserole where it tastes pretty good but there’s just some ingredient in it you just can’t place and would have been fine without and maybe the whole thing is slightly underseasoned.

The Shaman Sings was James D. Doss’ debut novel and I think that shows pretty clearly. There are a lot of elements in the story. There is the mystical Ute woman, the Keystone cop deputies, the illegal immigrant, the visions, the dreams, th
Amber Foxx
Dec 23, 2015 Amber Foxx rated it it was amazing
An analytical review

I’ve previous reviewed James Scott Belle’s writing guide, Super Structure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story, and I love the mystical mysteries of James D. Doss. To teach myself to better apply Bell’s structural signposts, I reread Doss’s first book, noting how he intuitively applied those story-line elements in his unconventional way, long before Bell wrote the book. I hope this review will be useful to readers looking for a good book and to authors hoping to write on
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 10, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This series is often compared to Tony Hillerman novels, though the writing styles of these two authors are markedly different. The similarities are primarily in genre with mysteries involving Native American culture, Colorado settings, and tribal investigator protagonists. Qualities appreciated by Hillerman fans won't necessarily translate to Doss novels, and vice versa. My limited experience with Hillerman novels is based on Dance Hall of the Dead, which I couldn't even finish for its hard-boil ...more
Michele Beacham
Picked this up from the Local Authors shelf at a bookstore in Albuquerque on a whim to read while I was there for the weekend. It was pretty good and a fast read, but I was a little bit disappointed at it being listed at the first "Charlie Moon" book, because he was hardly in it at all. I probably would have liked it less had I not read it on vacation (I find that vacation makes everything better!)
Voilà un polar "ethnique" très sympathique. Bourré d'humour, un juste équilibre entre sciences, ici une sombre histoire d'assassinat suite à la découverte du Graal des super-conducteurs, et traditions natives-américaines, avec les visions de Daisy Perika, vieille chaman Ute, et les prémonitions du chef de la police Scotty Parris.
Un tas de fausses pistes à l'entourloupe bien menée, des personnages chouettes et drôles, même si certains sont un peu trop caricaturaux (le criminel mexicain et le flic
Feb 29, 2016 Julieann287 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dedective
I so enjoyed this book! I couldn't help but to compare this story to Tony Hillerman's books. I enjoyed Hillerman's journalistic style and have been looking into other writers to fill that void.

James Doss' The Shaman Sings was a very fun read. I am a native of southern Colorado and love the Four Corners area. I appreciated his imagery of the Colorado and New Mexico where four states come together. Also enjoyed the development of the main character, Granite Creek police chief Scott Parris, recent
Jul 01, 2014 Jen rated it it was ok
Meh. I just discovered this author recently and I really liked the concept of mysteries set on the Ute reservation. Like having another Hillerman to read. But somehow, so far, he never quite pulls it off. I do like some of his characters. But the plots get pretty contrived, and the twist is never "honest" from the reader's point of view, IMHO.
Gerald Kinro
Jan 02, 2014 Gerald Kinro rated it really liked it
Priscilla Song, a physics graduate student, is brutally murdered, shocking the peaceful town of Granite Creek, Colorado. Signs point to Julio Pacheco, maintenance worker at Rocky Mountain Polytech University with an eye for Priscilla. Pacheco is an overall bad-assed illegal Mexican alien. Chief of Police Scott Parris is not so sure; he dreamed of the killing. Daisy Perika, an elderly Ute shaman, had the same dream. She also knows that the student was on to a breakthrough discovery. Meanwhile, th ...more
Julie Howard
Sep 20, 2015 Julie Howard rated it it was ok
First, the positive......good characters, and an interesting murder.
The negative......1. Not enough Charlie Moon 2. Too much stuff left unexplained that is unrelated to the story. Daisy's friend is taken by angels and his sheep killed? No one investigates? 3. The pretty reporter is hurt badly then is out running around the next day? Seriously, no. 4. There were serious hints of a supernatural thing about the killer, never explained. 4. What the heck were the fireballs and witches that Daisy saw
Titus Burley
Mar 23, 2013 Titus Burley rated it really liked it
It's always a little haunting to pick up a book on whim (especially one by an author who has been penning books for years) and then discover that the author in question has just passed away. I'd been aware of Doss's mystery series for years, but I had never got around to reading any of his books. When I happened upon a copy of his debut novel in the series and found myself hooked after the first couple of chapters, I put aside the handful of books I was half-heartedly reading and raced through t ...more
Aug 16, 2010 Gail rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2016 SouthWestZippy rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
A female physics student has been murdered in Granite Creek, Colorado. Police chief Scott Parrish sees the killings in his dreams as well as shaman Daisy Perika. Tribal Police investigator Charlie Moon, who is the nephew of Parrish and Perika, is in charge of finding the killer but he first must summon up the supernatural for help. Hard to follow and just could not get into story.
Doss, James D.

The shocking death of a female physics student has shattered the peaceful community of Granite Creek, Colorado—and police chief Scott Parrish has a hunch he can’t even begin to explain. He saw the killing…in his dreams.

Daisy Perika experienced the same visions. An aged Ute shaman who lives in a trailer on the lonesome highlands, hers is the realm of the Native American spirit. But Daisy doesn’t need scientific proof to know that the student’s breakthrough dis
Feb 01, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 01, 2010 Denise rated it liked it
Although this series is listed as a cozy on I don't know that I would call it a cozy. It has some pretty graphic stuff in it. This is the first book in the Charlie Moon Mystery series. What I found interesting is Charlie Moon had a very small part in this book, and there wasn't much Native American stuff in it either. I hope that this first book is just laying the groundwork and more Native American story will be in the upcoming books. I just put The Shaman Laughs, t ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Janelle rated it it was amazing
I am reading the entire series at this time, so I don't remember the exact plot of each one. However, Ute tribal investigator, Charlie Moon and his best friend Granite Creek Chief of Police, Scott Parris make the entire series a lot of fun. The antics of Charlie's grouchy Aunt Daisy, a Ute Elder and Shaman, make for good plot twists and high adventures. If there weren't some grisly murders along the way, these books might be considered "tea cozy" mysteries for and about cowboys. I love these boo ...more
Sharon Hopper
Feb 03, 2016 Sharon Hopper rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up at a used bookstore and like it enough to find others that Doss has written. It was a fun read on a stormy, gray winter day.
Aug 15, 2015 Megan rated it liked it
Ok mystery set mostly on a Ute reservation in Colorado. Not as good as Hillerman novels, and lots more mysticism, but still a fun read with interesting characters.
Aug 11, 2014 Lynn rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've read by James Doss. I don't know how I missed this great author but so glad I found him! I love books that include the Native American Myths and culture. Check this one out you won't be disappointed!
May 31, 2013 Ann rated it liked it
This is another series of mysteries I've always enjoyed, and is special because the books provide insights into the Native American Ute culture in Colorado through the eyes of Charlie Moon. If you enjoy inside looks at Native American cultures you would also like the series by Tony Hillerman who wrote about the Navajo people in New Mexico and Arizona through his heroes Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Another Navajo mystery series I liked was about tribal police chief Ella Clah written by husband and ...more
Oct 17, 2015 KDawn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*sigh* Well, this was the first time I ever skipped the second half of a book and just checked "who dun it" at the end. It wasn't a great surprise. What I really found confusing was why this was labeled "a Charlie Moon" mystery, when dear old Charlie wasn't in the book for the first 70 pages. Maybe he's more of a main character later in the books. I also wanted more information about the Ute traditions (maybe I skipped over it in the 2nd half?), like Tony Hillarman gave you in the Joe Leaphorn s ...more
Kaye Dewar
Jun 30, 2014 Kaye Dewar rated it it was amazing
Great book for readers of James Doss and other native American who dun its!
Dec 19, 2012 Chris rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-4corners
I had a hard time with this one. Charlie Moon is hardly in it. Most of the book has your typical stereotypes of lawmen, academics,etc.. Some of the action feels contrived and hollow. In one case a character is almost murdered but she survives and is walking around like nothing happened within hours of the near fatal wounding. The best parts of the book were about the scientific discovery. The attempt to meld the Native American mythology with a murder mystery didn't succeed like the works of Ton ...more
Diane Nodell
Feb 19, 2016 Diane Nodell rated it it was amazing
All in the series are great fun!
Jerry Peace
Won't continue with this series.
May 22, 2016 Tom rated it liked it
2.6 's. Interesting plot. Needs polish. ...more
Jun 07, 2015 Patty rated it it was ok
There were some interesting bits to this story that will have me seeking out at least one more in the series (the superconductor science, the Native American settings), but Charlie Moon whose name is attached to the series hardly features in it at all, and some of the characters were just obnoxious. The pace of the "romance" between the sheriff and the reporter seemed disjointed to me, and I couldn't tell how seriously or "real" some of the shamanistic experiences were supposed to be considered.
John Grose
May 10, 2015 John Grose rated it it was ok
I can't say as I really cared for it. And the titular character is barely in it.
Billy Maise
Feb 17, 2014 Billy Maise rated it liked it
Started slow but got good at the end. Better than I expected.
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James Daniel Doss, recently retired from the technical staff of Los Alamos National Laboratory, now spends most of his time in a small cabin above Taos -- writing mystery fiction. He also travels to the fascinating locations where his stories take place, often camping in remote areas to absorb the impression of an Anasazi ruin, a deep canyon, an arid mesa, or a Sun Dance.
More about James D. Doss...

Other Books in the Series

Charlie Moon (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Shaman Laughs (Charlie Moon, #2)
  • The Shaman's Bones (Charlie Moon, #3)
  • The Shaman's Game
  • The Night Visitor (Charlie Moon, #5)
  • Grandmother Spider (Charlie Moon, #6)
  • White Shell Woman (Charlie Moon, #7)
  • Dead Soul (Charlie Moon, #8)
  • The Witch's Tongue (Charlie Moon, #9)
  • Shadow Man (Charlie Moon, #10)
  • Stone Butterfly (Charlie Moon, #11)

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