The Ghostway (1984)
A car thief, a killer, an infected hogan, a ghost kept from its journey into death's underworld: the search for a lost girl leads Tribal Policeman Jim Chee to a case of false identity and the ultimate revenge-murder.
The Navajo "Big Reservation" is a land of snakeweed and buffalo grass, a searing wind that blasts sand against your face, and a wilderness of desolate mountains and canyons that offer the perfect hiding places. When the Federal Witness Protection Program sends a felon there without informing the Tribal Police, it touches off a chain of treachery and killings. The crime is the business of the FBI, not the Navajos, but the Feds lack the knowledge of Jim Chee in understanding the clues : a ghost infected hogan, a corpse buried with its hair unwashed, a sacred bundle left where it would not be left.
The routine search for a missing Navajo girl snares Chee onto the edge of a puzzle whose only clue is a message which seems to have no sender, and no meaning. It is a puzzle that leads him across the American West to the forbidden underside of Los Angeles, and to a curing ceremonial where the cure may be death.