Review: The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

the sinister pig by tony hillermanThe Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn & Chee #16

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: U.S. Southwest, Washington, DC

Source: Ebook, Purchased

Publishing Date: 2003

352 pages

Synopsis: Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police is troubled by the nameless corpse discovered just inside his jurisdiction, at the edge of the Jicarilla Apache natural gas field. More troubling still is the FBI’s insistence that the Bureau take over the case, calling the unidentifiedvictim’s death a “hunting accident.”

But if a hunter was involved, Chee knows the prey was intentionally human. This belief is shared by the “Legendary Lieutenant” Joe Leaphorn, who once again is pulled out of retirement by the possibility of serious wrongs being committed against the Navajo nation by the Washington bureaucracy. Yet it is former policewoman Bernadette Manuelito, recently relocated to Customs Patrol at the U.S. — Mexico border, who possibly holds the key to a fiendishly twisted conspiracy of greed, lies, and murder — and whose only hope for survival now rests in the hands of friends too far away for comfort. 

My thoughts

Background

I love Tony Hillerman’s mysteries. I’ve read them for years (though there was a time in the late 1990’s and 2000’s I stopped reading mysteries). I’m going back now to read some of the ones I missed and some of the older ones I don’t remember as well or that I just want to read again and enjoy.

This is one of the books I hadn’t read and I really enjoyed it. I’m reading the books as I find them for a price I can pay so I’ve been skipping back and forth with the books. Each book is a self-contained mystery, but the overall arc of the main characters’ personal lives changes throughout the series so this isn’t the best way to read the books! I’m not sure that I read the two books before this one so I’ll eventually read those.

The story

This mystery involves Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee when an unidentified man is found shot in their jurisdiction. The FBI takes over the case and the case is closed when the Feds say the man was a hunting accident victim. This is a tense mystery. There were problems even in 2003 (as there have been for years before and years after) with illegal immigrants and drugs coming over the U.S. – Mexico border. And any time there’s lots of money involved people don’t want to give that up–so they don’t care who gets hurt or killed in the process.

Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito

Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito is a main character in this book and I like her. She quits her job with the Navajo Tribal Police and  takes a job with the Customs Patrol at the U.S. – Mexico border. She’s curious about unusual things she sees during her patrols and that quickly gets her in trouble. Leaphorn and Chee begin to see that some of the things Bernie has seen may tie-in with their dead man even though no one at the federal level will talk to them.

One reason Bernie quit her job with the Navajo Tribal Police: she realizes she needs to get on with her life. She likes Jim Chee, but he doesn’t seem to notice her. I like that she realizes she has to be strong enough to leave that situation. She’s not only strong, but a smart, honest and conscientious law enforcement officer. And maybe Chee noticed her more than he let on!

A really good mystery and I recommend the series! I plan to read and review more of the books this year.

My Rating: A-

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