Someone once told me that laughter is the human response to what makes them uncomfortable. This story is like Shirley Jackson and Christopher Moore had a book baby and Motherthing was the result. Ralph and Abby Lamb move in with his mentally ill mother as caretakers. Abby thinks this is her chance to win over her mother in law. She’s wrong. Dead wrong. The story telling in this book is brilliantly funny at times and deeply disturbing at others. Mark Abrams cover art drew me in but Ainslie Hogarth’s ability to make me cringe and laugh at the same time kept me reading.
Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth, (List Price: $17, Vintage, 9780593467022, September 2022)
“It was important to me to share a contemporary story of a Navajo woman living today. Being Navajo is a small part; the book is about a woman and her work. That’s what’s different. It’s not about creating a Navajo persona, or about delegating myself to show a certain way of life for a woman. I have a responsibility to Navajo people, and to all people, to tell the truth. I want people to see that Navajos are dynamic and that they do a million different things. I show some of them.” –Ramona Emerson, Interview, Terrain.org
What booksellers are saying about Shutter
Rita Todacheene has seen ghosts since she was a child growing up in the Navajo Nation. Now a forensic photographer, Rita’s life is upended by these spirits seeking justice for their murders, while her friends and coworkers question her sanity. This thrilling mystery left me hoping to see more of Rita Todacheene in future novels. ―Lia Lent from Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas Buy from Wordsworth Books
I really enjoyed this story about an indigenous crime scene photographer who can see ghosts. Dark and atmospheric! I’ll recommend SHUTTER to mystery and psychological suspense readers. Loved the dual timeline of present day and main character’s childhood.
―Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina Buy from Main Street Books
What a stunner! I couldn’t put down this story of a young Navajo forensic photographer in Albuquerque, New Mexico who can also communicate with the lost spirits of the dead. A mystery mixed with the myth and mysticism of the Navajo people with was a page turner that almost had me calling in sick to work because I wanted to read this from cover to cover, and almost did much to my boss’s chagrin. ―Pete Mock from McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina Buy from McIntyre’s Books
About Ramona Emerson
Ramona Emerson is a Diné writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. She has a bachelor’s in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. After starting in forensic videography, she embarked upon a career as a photographer, writer, and editor. She is an Emmy nominee, a Sundance Native Lab Fellow, a Time-Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All-Access Grantee and a WGBH Producer Fellow. In 2020, Emerson was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries for the State of New Mexico. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she and her husband, the producer Kelly Byars, run their production company Reel Indian Pictures. Shutter is her first novel.
This next instalment of the Gravekeeper Series hasn’t even come out yet, and yet I’m already itching to read the next part of Kiera’s story. This series is the most unexpectedly delightful combination of spooky, action packed, and heartwarming slice of life all wrapped up in a mystery. I find myself falling in love with all of the characters, from the kindly pastor Adage, to the cheery “not a doctor” Mason. However I adore most of all our main character and amnesia ridden ghost whisperer Kiera. I adore this series and cannot wait for the next one!
The Ravenous Dead by Darcy Coates, (List Price: $14.99, Poisoned Pen Press, 9781728239224, March 2022)