The Horned Owl by Choctaw Author Lu Clifton.
Mark Twain once said, “Every man is a moon and has a side which he turns toward nobody; you have to slip around behind if you want to see it.” (“The Refuge of Derelicts” 1905). This insight into human nature proves to be the driving force behind Detective Sam Chitto’s pursuit of justice in The Horned Owl, the third book in the Sam Chitto mystery series. Two Choctaw tribal council members pull Chitto into an unauthorized investigation to prove a teenage boy is innocent of murder and sexual mutilation. Using graphic novels the boy produced, prosecutors enlist the aid of a forensic psychiatrist to prove the boy committed a fantasy murder. Also suspect is the reason the boy gave for being seen near the body after the murder: the Choctaw deity Ishkitini, the Horned Owl, forewarned him in the night that someone would die violently.
One case investigation becomes two as Chitto realizes the murder occurred where his father was killed a decade before. Chitto’s efforts to discover the moon side of various characters drives the action in both investigations. The juxtaposition of the ancient Caddoan mound civilization with modern forensic methodology adds interest.