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(Book #7 in the Leaphorn & Chee Series)

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. New York Times Bestseller From New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman comes the seventh novel featuring Leaphorn and Chee--a riveting tale of sorcery, secrets, and murder. "Hillerman is...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Hillerman at his best

As long time fans of Tony Hillerman know, Navaho Tribal Police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn didn't always work together. In fact, for the first half dozen or so novels in Hillerman's series of mysteries, the two characters were pretty much independent of one another, starring in their own novels without the benefit of each others company (although Leaphorn does get a passing reference in the Jim Chee-centered People of Darkness). But all that changed with Skinwalkers, where for the first time Hillerman has his two principal characters work together side-by-side on a case, and in the process start what has to be one of the best Holmes-Watson combinations in all of literature.The book starts out with a bang, literally. Someone fires three shots into Jim Chee's dilapidated trailer while he's inside, missing him by inches. Why someone would want to kill him he hasn't the faintest idea, but is there any connection between this and three unsolved murders on the Navaho reservation? And how, of all things, do reports of witchcraft and "skinwalkers" (the evil shape-changers of Navaho myth) fit into the puzzle? Lt. Leaphorn wants to know, Sgt. Chee can't let so personal a mystery go uninvestigated, and before long the two are navigating their way through that trademark intricate array of clues woven with Navaho folklore that have made Hillerman such a staple with mystery fans.It's hard to dislike any of the novels in this series, and Skinwalkers is one of the best. The mystery is tight and interesting, the characters engaging, and there is that whole fascinating world of the Dinee, the Navaho people, that Hillerman so obviously loves to explore. Skinwalkers is especially a good place to start for those who have never read a Navaho Tribal Police novel before, because it is at the start of the Leaphorn & Chee combination that has dominated the series ever since (although don't forget to pick up those earlier novels!). Highly recommended.

Mystery and Character

Hillerman's marvelous mysteries pit Officer Jim Chee and Lt. Joe Leaporn against a variety of nefarious evil doers. In "Skinwalkers" the two are brought together and must find out who is trying to kill Chee. Hillerman's intricate plots are set with colorful detail in the Navajo reservation areas of the southwest. Reading the stories yields an appreciation of the nation within a nation of the Navajo Indian. The two tribal policemen have adapted in different ways to life influenced by two cultures.The pragmatic and more experienced Leaphorn reflects to himself: "Getting old, . . . He had reached the ridge and now the slope was downward. The thought didn't depress him, but it gave him an odd sense of pressure, of time moving past him, of things needed to be done before time ran out. Leaphorn considered this, and laughed. Most un-Navajo thinking. He had been around white men far too long."Chee is more spiritual and embraces Indian mysticism. He strives to become a healer in addition to being a competent police officer. "Chee believed in penicillin and insulin and heart bypass surgery. But he also believed that something far beyond the understanding of modern medicine controlled life and death."The complexity of character enriches these entertaining whodunit novels and makes them very satisfying reading.

It takes two to solve a murder

An unknown person tries to kill Navajo policemen Jim Chee and three apparently unrelated murders on the Navajo reservation puzzle Lt. Joe Leaphorn. The murders, it appears, all something to do with witches (skinwalkers). "Skinwalkers" is the seventh book in the Navajo Detective series by Tony Hillerman. He wrote three books featuring Joe Leaphorn, then three featuring Jim Chee, and now he brings the two policemen together in the same book. Also, in this book, Hillerman introduces Janet Pete, an agressive Navajo lawyer, as a new love interest for Chee. Hillerman fans will be interested in this book to see how Leaphorn, methodical and reliable, and Chee, a bit flaky but brilliant, get along working together. The answer is: uneasily. The mystery itself is not overly credible, but weaving the story in and around Navajo beliefs about skinwalkers is fascinating and, as always, Hillerman uses the backdrop of the violent weather and magnificient landscape of the Navajo reservation to frame his story. And as always Hillerman includes a goodly dose of instruction in Navajo etiquette and attitudes and demonstrates -- usually with good humor -- the ineptness of white policeman, especially the FBI, in the Navajo culture and environment. If you haven't read Hillerman before, this is probably not the best book of the series. He has written more intriguing mysteries. But the settings of Hillerman's books are fabulous and Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are top caliber characters worthy of inclusion in a short list of the best detectives in fiction.

Great mystery, better character development!

Reading the Hillerman Navajo mystery series is a joy, and this addition to the series is wonderful! If you have been reading the series, this book will intrigue you and allow you to see sides of the two main characters, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, that you have not yet seen.The first book of the series to join Leaphorn and Chee, Hillerman develops the inner character of both men and this provides further reason to follow the series. The men are very real with their everyday concerns and their doggendness in their pursuit of the solution to the mystery. Hillerman ties the reader to the charcters without pulling at the heartstrings of the reader - in other words, it is not a sappy read, but one that makes one feel they are involved with real people in a desolate, intriguing setting. The mystery is the best of the series to date, one that has twists, turns, and surprises. As always, the feel of the Navajo culture and the conflicts with the surrounding culture is present. Well researched and set in the time of the late 1980s, this book gives the reader a true life feel. If you are a Hillerman fan, you will love this book. If this is your first look at the Hillerman series, I would strongly recommend reading the series in order - the story within the novels will unravel much more clearly.

Hillerman is the master of the genre

*Skinwalkers* is the novel that made Hillerman's reputation, and justly so. Everything comes together here: vivid and believable use of the supernatural that resolves at last into mundane reality, informed current events driving the plot, an intriguing puzzle intorduced on the first page, and a cast of characters we admire and respect. Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are not sidekicks; they don't like each other very much, as a matter of fact. But with their two different perspectives on the conflict of Navajo values and the contemporary world, Hillerman gives us a convincing and entertaining picture of a world we can only experience secondhand.The best book in the series is *A Thief of Time.* For complete reviews, visit my web site.

Skinwalkers Mentions in Our Blog

Skinwalkers in 15 Marvelous Book-to-Screen Adaptations from Masterpiece
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And in the category of our favorite things: Book-to-screen adaptations! For over fifty years now, Masterpiece (Formerly Masterpiece Theatre) has been bringing fantastic novels to the small screen in the form of series, miniseries, and movies.
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