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It's bitter cold in Oklahoma's Ouachita Wilderness when Detective Sam Chitto of the Choctaw Tribal Police takes on a thirty-five year old cold case involving a missing Vietnam veteran and a murdered couple. The discovery of a man's skull in the murdered woman's casket, which her family had disinterred for further investigation, attracts the attention of the veteran's mother. Believing the skull to be that of her son, she tasks Chitto with becoming a Bonepicker. Because bones survived flesh, Choctaw of old preserved the bones of their deceased, believing their essence dwelled within. Honored people, called Bonepickers, retrieved the bones for the family for burial. When his preliminary investigation reveals former suspects in the old murder inquiry have a shorter-than-average life span, Chitto goes looking for the reason. As he unravels the mystery, long-held secrets that have kept residents living in fear the past thirty-five years begin to crumble. The Bonepicker is a fast-paced mystery that unites a diverse set of characters on a mission to see that justice is served.
Lu Clifton writes fiction for children and adults. Her adult mystery series mingle Choctaw culture, science, and murder. She became interested in cultural traditions while tracing her mother's Choctaw roots. Her latest book, which released April of 2017, is called The Bonepicker; it's the second book in her Sam Chitto mystery series. The first-in-series, Scalp Dance (Five Star Mysteries) released in 2016. She also has three middle-grade novels in print with Holiday House NY: Freaky Fast Frankie Joe (2012), Immortal Max (2014, and Seeking Cassandra (2016). Clifton was born in and spent her early childhood in southeastern Oklahoma, then moved to the Texas Panhandle with her family. She completed an associate degree at Amarillo Junior College in Texas and a B.A. and M.A. in English at Colorado State University, Fort Collins.. She now resides in northern Illinois. She is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Western Writers of American, Mystery Writers of America, The American Crime Writers League, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.