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Skinwalkers ()

Tony Hillerman's Navajo police procedurals are so reliable that I've never hesitated to add them to my bookshelf, but have then parcelled them out over the years when I want a guaranteed good read. Skinwalkers, which Robert Redford and PBS turned into a disappointing entry in the Mystery franchise, features the first meeting of his two heroes: the older, more hard-boiled, Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and the idealist and more religious Jim Chee. The novel opens with a literal bang as someone fires a shotgun into Chee's trailer, narrowly missing him thanks to warning from the feral cat he's semi-adopted. Leaphorn harbors immediate suspicions because cops who are subject to vendettas tend to be corrupt. Be he gradually realizes that the attack may tie into a series of murders that have been bothering him--points on a reservation map that he can't quite connect.

The skinwalkers of the title are those who use "medicine" for evil purposes, whereas Chee is learning to be a yataalii medicine man and perform cleansing rituals like the Blessing Way. This has brought him into conflict with an Anglo doctor who runs a medical clinic on the reservation, but whose methods include using bogus forms of Navajo medicine. If it perhaps takes Chee and Leaphorn to put the pieces together here, the procedural mechanics are first rate and, as always, the unique setting and the culture the tale is immersed in make for a first-rate adventure.


Grade: (A-)


See also:

Tony Hillerman (2 books reviewed)
Tony Hillerman Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Tony Hillerman
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Tony Hillerman (IMDB)
    -ENTRY: Tony Hillerman American novelist (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
    -ENTRY: HILLERMAN, TONY (1925–2008) (Oklahoma Historical Society)
    -The Tony Hillerman Portal (University of New Mexico College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences)
    -Finding Aid of the Tony Hillerman Papers, 1964-1996 (The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for Southwest Research)
    -Hillerman country! (The Unofficial Tony Hillerman Homepage)
    -BOOK SITE: Skinwalkers (Harper Collins)
    -WIKIPEDIA: Skinwalkers
    -VIDEO: Tony Hillerman: The Art Of Mystery: An intimate look into the master mystery writers mind. Hillerman explains his inspirations, triumphs and disasters of writing his famous Jim Chee mystery series set in the Southwest. (New Mexico PBS, Dec 5, 2009)
    -VIDEO: Tony Hillerman, by Anne Hillerman: The Authors Road traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico and met with writer and journalist Anne Hillerrman, daughter of legendary Southwest mystery writer and one-time journalist, Tony Hillerman (1925 - 2008) (George Mason: Author's Road, 10/11/13)
    -VIDEO: Coyote Waits (2003) (PBS: Mystery, You Tube)
-AUDIO: Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman (You Tube)
    -VIDEO: Skinwalker-Curse of the Shaman (2005) (PBS: Mystery, YouTube)
    -INTERVIEW: Politics and the Reservation: PW Talks with Tony Hillerman (Judy Bates, Apr 14, 2003, Publishers Weekly)
    -INTERVIEW: Going in Beauty: An Interview with Tony Hillerman (Alan Warhaftig interviews Tony Hillerman, DECEMBER 6, 2017, LA Review of Books)
    -OBIT: Tony Hillerman (AP)
    -OBIT: Tony Hillerman, 83; Penned Navajo Series,/a> (Joe Holley, October 28, 2008, Washington Post)
-OBIT: Tony Hillerman, Novelist, Dies at 83 (Marilyn Stasio, Oct. 27, 2008, NY Times)
    -PROFILE: No mystery to Tony Hillerman's success as a best-selling author (Bob Hoover, 10/31/1998, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
    -ESSAY: TONY HILLERMAN AND THE INVENTION OF JIM CHEE: Joe Leaphorn, older and sophisticated, needed a new foil—one younger, more interested in tradition, and more inquisitive. (JAMES MCGRATH MORRIS, 10/14/21, CrimeReads)
-ESSAY: TONY HILLERMAN: A CRIME READER’S GUIDE TO THE CLASSICS: On the Richly Sensory Mystery Novels of the Navajo Tribal Police (NEIL NYREN, 6/07/19, Crime Reads)
    -TRIBUTE: TONY HILLERMAN: AN OPEN BOOK: He may have been a master mystery writer, but to those who knew him, what you saw was what you got—a man of the people who wore many hats well. An oral history of a New Mexico hero. (Charles C. Poling, New Mexico Magazine)
    -ESSAY: I Want to Believe: Tony Hillerman’s long-running mystery series is an underrecognized influence on The X-Files (Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, The Oyster Review)
    -ESSAY: Senses of Place: Atlantic contributors reflect on intersections of books and travel. (WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE, JANUARY 1999, The Atlantic)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVES: Tony Hillerman (Kirkus)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVES: Tony Hillerman (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman (Kirkus)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (Greg Herren, Reviewing the Evidence)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (Mystery Reviews 2017)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (The First Gates)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (Reader of a Certain Age)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (People)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (Alicia Karen Elkins, Rambles)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (D.G. Hudson - Rainforest Writing)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (Philosophy Blog)
    -REVIEW: of Skinwalkers (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of sacred Clowns by Tony Hillerman (Ronald Shook, Western American Literature)


    -FILMOGRAPHY: Tony Hillerman (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Skinwalkers (Rotten Tomatoes)
    -VIDEO: Coyote Waits (2003) (PBS: Mystery, You Tube)
-VIDEO: Skinwalker-Curse of the Shaman (2005) (PBS: Mystery, YouTube)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Skinwalkers (IMDB)
    -ARTICLE: The bestseller they couldn’t sell (SUSAN KING, NOV. 17, 2002, LA TIMES)
    -ARTICLE: Joe Leaphorn is not his old self but Tony Hillerman is happy with ‘Skinwalkers’ (Native Arts)
    -TV REVIEW: Skinwalkers (Caryn James, NY Times)
    -TV REVIEW: Skinwalkers (ANN HODGES, Houston Chronicle)

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