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  “A haunting thriller . . .  written across the landscapes of

the Navajo Nation and cityscapes of New Mexico.”


New Book


“A perfect blend of thriller, horror, and coming-of-age story.THE BOSTON GLOBE

Ramona Emerson’s blood-chilling debut novel set in New Mexico’s Navajo Nation is equal parts gripping crime thriller, supernatural horror, and poignant portrayal of coming of age on the reservation.

Shutter | Ramona Emerson | Soho Crime

Available now in paperback and ebook from Soho Crime

About the Boo


        Rita Todacheene is a forensic photographer working for the Albuquerque police force. Her excellent photography skills have cracked many cases—she is almost supernaturally good at capturing details. In fact, Rita has been hiding a secret: she sees the ghosts of crime victims who point her toward the clues that other investigators overlook. 

        As a lone portal back to the living for traumatized spirits, Rita is terrorized by nagging ghosts who won’t let her sleep and who sabotage her personal life. Her taboo and psychologically harrowing ability was what drove her away from the Navajo reservation, where she was raised by her grandmother. It has isolated her from friends and gotten her in trouble with the law.

        And now it might be what gets her killed.

        When Rita is sent to photograph the scene of a supposed suicide on a highway overpass, the furious, discombobulated ghost of the victim—who insists she was murdered—latches onto Rita, forcing her on a quest for revenge against her killers, and Rita finds herself in the crosshairs of one of Albuquerque’s most dangerous cartels. Written in sparkling, gruesome prose, Shutter is an explosive debut from one of crime fiction’s most powerful new voices.


Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction

Finalist for the 2023 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel   •  Finalist for the 2023 PEN Open Book Award   •  Winner of the Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel  •  Nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel  •  The Boston Globe Best Books of 2022  •  An NPR Best Book of 2022  •  A New York Public Library Best Book of 2022  •  Outside magazine 10 Best Books of 2022


This story is way more than a thriller, more than a ghost story. It is one of family and history, of culture, of past and present, of walking set boundaries and of discovering oneself.” —USA TODAY

“[Emerson] brings a contemporary Diné protagonist to brilliant life. Rita vibrates off the page with grit, vulnerability, and a set of keen observational powers that allow her to rise above violence, corruption, and family trauma. Here’s hoping her crime-solving career is a long one.” —NEW MEXICO MAGAZINE

“This paranormal police procedural is unusual and multilayered, but what stands out is the gorgeously expressive and propulsive first-person storytelling, which is split between Rita’s present and her past. A former forensic photographer herself, the pictures Emerson paints with words are as vivid as they are brutal.” OPRAH DAILY

Shutter is a soulful and mesmerizing exploration of the paranormal, set against the backdrop of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. Written in tough, edgy prose, this book grabs you by the shoulders and refuses to let you leave. Ramona Emerson is a welcome new voice in Native literature.” DAVID HESKA WANBLI WEIDEN, AUTHOR OF WINTER COUNTS

Shutter is utterly unputdownable . . . This is a story that won’t let you go long after you finish, and you won’t want it to end even as you can’t stop reading to find out how it does.” —TOMMY ORANGE, AUTHOR OF THERE THERE

Shutter is impossible to classify, gorgeously written and ingeniously constructed.” CRIMEREADS

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Ramona Emerson is a Diné writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. She has a bachelor’s in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. As a police department photographer in Alberquerque, New Mexico, she spent 16 years documenting crime scenes before becoming a novelist. She is an Emmy nominee, a Sundance Native Lab Fellow, a Time-Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All-Access Grantee and a WGBH Producer Fellow.

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