In the same way that American novelist Tony Hillerman has set thrillers in Navajo country, anthropologist Gordon Mohs of Mission City, the son of a Douglas Lake cowboy, has used Sto:lo life on the Fraser River for his collectors' edition murder mystery Devil's Run (Self-published, Longhouse Publishing, 2000; $89 plus GST).

Born in Penticton, raised in Merritt and educated at UBC and SFU, Mohs spent 14 years as an expert witness and consultant for aboriginal court cases for the Sto:lo Nation. Between 1984 and 1987 he assisted the Sto:lo, Nl'akapamux and Secwepemc Tribal Nations in their political, legal and spiritual struggles to stop the Canadian National Railway's Twin Tracking Project that would have impacted 38 bands, 72 reserves and two river systems. He has three traditional names: Sxwoxwiyam ('legend' or 'storyteller'), El:oliye ('vision' or 'dreamer') and Pop'qoles ('snowberry bush').

Mohs wrote numerous scientific titles before he became disenchanted with politics, opting to write his forthcoming series of Eddie Julian novels. Subtitled 'An Eddie Julian Mystery', Devil's Run is about a tribal-police inspector from the Nicola Valley trying to nab thieves stealing salmon-until racial tensions escalate between the local First Nations people and DFO. A young Sto:lo woman is fishing for sturgeon at the junction of the Sumas and Fraser Rivers when she snags the body of a missing fisheries officer. His bashed-in skull and his body were sent to the bottom wrapped in traditional fish-net weights.

In Devil's Run Mohs hasn't soft-pedalled on the intricacies of aboriginal politics. Now he and his wife are promoting his first thriller with a website ( and preparing the next two books in his projected trilogy, also to be released as collectors' items.

Devil's Run was printed on acid-free environmentally friendly paper, with original artwork by Coast Salish artist Stan Greene. It has a debossed design on hardcover, with 1000 copies in print; all copies numbered and signed by the author. 0-9686046-0-9

[BCBW 2000] "Fiction" "First Nations"