Set against the backdrop of the North American Indian Days—an annual celebration in Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet Nation—a group of four teenagers find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation after a classmate is found dead.

by K.A. Cobell
Heartdrum/HarperCollins, May 2024
(via Park & Fine Literary)

Since moving to the Blackfeet Reservation with her parents, Mara Racine has felt like an outsider, taunted by her classmates for growing up off the reservation and being “only half” Native American. So no one’s more surprised than Mara when Loren Arnoux, who was particularly cruel, includes her in a traditional Blackfeet Giveaway honoring Loren’s missing sister, Cheyenne.
Mara thinks she’ll finally make some friends. Instead, Samantha Calf Tail, a girl from the Giveaway group, is murdered.
Now, Mara finds herself a person of interest in the Tribal Police’s investigation, along with the others who were last seen with Samantha: grief-stricken Loren, who was Samantha’s best friend until Cheyenne’s disappearance drove a wedge between them; class clown Brody Clark, whose unrequited attraction for Samantha is an open secret; and Eli First Kill, who has his own complicated history with Samantha.
Each of them a suspect. Each of them hiding secrets.
When Cheyenne’s body is found days later, it becomes clear that there is a connection between the two cases – and that the Tribal Police seem less interested in justice than pinning it on someone and moving on. Mara, Loren, Brody, and Eli must now take matters into their own hands and clear their names—even though the murderer may be among them, and finding out the truth could mean becoming the killer’s next victim. »

K.A. Cobell is a Pitch Wars mentee and an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation. She currently lives in Washington State, where she spends her time writing books, chasing her kids through the never-ending rain, and scouring the inlet beaches for sand dollars and hermit crabs. LOOKING FOR SMOKE is her debut novel. It was included in the Pitch Wars showcase this year, where it was requested more than any other title (by over 50 agents!).

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