418 Montezuma Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501
James C. Wilson Author Event
Please join us for an evening with New Mexico author, James C. Wilson. Best known for his book, Hiking New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, James will be reading from his latest book Peyote Wolf. There will be a Q&A session immediately following the reading.
A man wearing a wolf mask bursts into a teepee in the middle of a peyote ceremony. Michael Soto, the owner of Sabado Indian Arts on the Santa Fe Plaza, is murdered.
The following morning Detective Fernando Lopez, a member of an old Santa Fe family, receives a visit from two Zuñi who tell him that an important tribal object, a carved wooden war god called an ahayu:da, has been stolen from their pueblo. They show him an anonymous letter sent to the Zuñi Tribal Council saying that Michael Soto was trying to sell it for $50,000. Shortly after they leave, the police dispatcher informs Lopez that a homicide has just been reported near San Ildefonso pueblo. The victim? Michael Soto.
Establishing who was present or what happened at the peyote ceremony proves difficult. One witness says three men and one woman from Whitewater near Zuñi attended the ceremony. Another says it was four men from Whitewater. One witness blames a skinwalker or a werewolf for Michael Soto’s murder.
Detective Lopez’s investigation exposes the cultural and ethnic fractures in Santa Fe, a city of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures. The investigation also leads into the dangerous underworld of buying and selling stolen Indian artifacts. Along the way he encounters looters and grave robbers, rich gallery owners who buy and sell priceless tribal objects on the black market, and artisans who produce fake replicas of the objects to sell.
The search for answers comes to a startling end in a violent confrontation at a trading post just north of Zuñi Pueblo, when the truth is finally revealed.
About the Author:
James C. Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Journalism, moved from rural Nebraska to Santa Fe in 1973. He wrote for both the Santa Fe Reporter and the Santa Fe New Mexican in the 1970s and ‘80s. After finishing a Ph.D. at UNM, he taught journalism for thirty years at the University of Cincinnati. He retired and moved back to New Mexico in 2012, living in the Antoine Predock adobe community La Luz del Oeste on the West Mesa. He has published eight books, most recently: Santa Fe, City of Refuge: An Improbable Memoir of the Counterculture (2019); Hiking New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon: The Trails, The Ruins, The History (2019); and Peyote Wolf (2020).