Awarded first place for fiction at the Apache County Fair of 2014
A thrilling suspense set in Concho Arizona
Jonny returns to Concho to attend his best friend's wedding. But Joey, a bird naturalist, the son of Juanito, known as The Almighty, was found with a cracked skull 500 feet down the mountain. Johnny doesn't believe it was an accident and is determined to find his killer. In small towns, however, secrets tend to either seep out slowly; or with a big bang and you wonder who wanted to silence Joey the Bird. Soon, more deaths and the news suspects a serial killer might be on the lose. Johnny's sister disappeared 20 years before, and Concho never gave up it's secret. Would Johnny find her, and can he find Joey's Killer. The Apaches believe the birds and the spirits might lead him to the killer because they watch and follow. Unusual crows have learned to mimic Johnny's click of the camera. They seem to be pointing to the suspects at the funeral, who may just try to stop Johnny from learning the truth.
Kareena Maxwell is an award winning author having placed first two categories in The Apache County Fair in adult fiction, "Finding Juanito," (a short story), and the adult non fiction, "The God of My Shoes" in September 2014. I am also the author of three other books, and I have two columns; The Apache County Neighborhoods Examiner, and The Upper East Side Examiner. I have been published in many literary journals and was a reporter for Health & Diet Times in New York City.
Two years ago, when I moved to the White Mountains in Arizona, I couldn’t stop picking up fat, red rocks, with markings that were tattooed by American Indians hundreds of years ago. I reached for different sized triangle shaped stones that I hoped were arrowheads that were chiseled away by a Navajo or Apache Indian. The tools that they sculpted to kill animals for food intrigued my imagination.
Then, there were the stars in the blackest nights that seemed so close I wanted to grab them. They flickered as if they were waiting for me to do so. Nature, in its determination and confidence, surrounded me as if royalty in the universe had opened a door and invited me in. I walked through the portal and found Juanito. Juanito, an aging Mexican, who had the benefit of a loving family, with the early conflicts in his life that any boy could have.
The hills and Cinder Mountain in Concho, Arizona, I believe, hold secrets and mysteries that I couldn’t stop thinking of. This area has one-hundred year old mud homes that were built by migrant farm workers with dirt floors that tilt into the sunlight. Concho has people from Mexico, who live in single and double wide homes. It also has Mormon families that came from Utah for religious freedom.
I kept thinking of a man who was loved so much by his Mexican mother that she called him “The Almighty.” Juanito, the Almighty, kept showing up in dialogue and conflict so I wrote the short story, “Finding Juanito,” entered it into the Apache County Fair in September, 2014 and it won First Place for adult fiction. Juanito wasn’t finished with me exploring his life and I wanted to know more, hence “Finding Juanito, the first novel from the trilogy, “The Birds of Concho.”
Juanito, and other characters in the mystical land of Concho, pulled me into the musk, and the losses experienced by the residents of this small town in the second poorest county in America, Apache County. “Finding Juanito,” is a story about the struggles and the gifts in one man’s life if he was willing to see them.
June 15th, 2015
Yesterday's book signing at Books n Treasures in Show Low was so wonderful. It was especially moving as frinds like "Gary" who walks his dog Toby on the path Bill and I take each day, and Carl Dye the local accountant showed up. I love you all for showing up including Corinne Ruiz of the White Mountain Independent to take pictures, my brother in law, Ev Lightcap who drove over one hundred miles to get there, my wonderful Bill who encourages, supports and understands the journey on many levels, "Finding Juanito", -Kareena Maxwell