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In a powerful novel aimed at readers 13 and up, author K. A. Cobell (Blackfeet) weaves loss, betrayal, and complex characters into a thriller that will illuminate, surprise, and engage readers until the final word. 

When local girl Loren includes Mara in a traditional Blackfeet Giveaway to honor Loren’s missing sister, Mara thinks she’ll finally make some friends on the Blackfeet reservation.

Instead, a girl from the Giveaway, Samantha White Tail, is found murdered.

Because the four members of the Giveaway group were the last to see Samantha alive, each becomes a person of interest in the investigation. And all of them—Mara, Loren, Brody, and Eli—have a complicated history with Samantha.

Despite deep mistrust, the four must now take matters into their own hands and clear their names. Even though one of them may be the murderer.

With compassion and care, this debut casts light on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic through a story that readers won’t be able to put down.


Praise for Looking for Smoke

"Via four alternating POVs informed by the intricacies of reservation life, Cobell highlights the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis and delivers a gut-punch of an ending in this timely debut thriller that is by turns spine-tingling and emotionally raw."

   — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Looking for Smoke opens a heartbreaking window onto the ongoing plague of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, exploring its real world costs. These unforgettable young characters give voice to this ever-growing trauma. Their stories will leave you with a richer understanding of what it means just to survive, as a young Indigenous person today.”

   — Eric Gansworth, author of Printz Honor Book Apple (Skin to the Core)

"A stunning debut, as beautiful as it is bold. Cobell has woven an aching examination of grief in an Indigenous community with a thriller brimming with so many secrets and twists, it’ll leave you breathless."

   — Diana Urban, award-winning author of All Your Twisted Secrets

Buy the Book: 


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