Can’t Wait Wednesday: Stargazer by Anne Hillerman

Police procedural set in the SW U.S. on the Navajo Indian Reservation

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books set to publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Stargazer

by Anne Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito #24

Published by Harper

Publishing date: Apr 13

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

336 pages

Synopsis: What begins as a typical day for Officer Bernadette Manuelito—serving a bench warrant, dealing with a herd of cattle obstructing traffic, and stumbling across a crime scene—takes an unexpected twist when she’s called to help find an old friend. Years ago, Bernie and Maya were roommates, but time and Maya’s struggles with addiction drove them apart. Now Maya’s brother asks Bernie to find out what happened to his sister.

Tracing Maya’s whereabouts, Bernie learns that her old friend had confessed to the murder of her estranged husband, a prominent astronomer. But the details don’t align. Suspicious, Bernie takes a closer look at the case only to find that nothing is as it seems. Uncovering new information about the astronomer’s work leads Bernie to a remote spot on the Navajo Nation and a calculating killer.

The investigation causes an unexpected rift with her husband and new acting boss, Jim Chee, who’s sure Bernie’s headed for trouble. While she’s caught between present and past, Chee is at a crossroads of his own. Burdened with new responsibilities he didn’t ask for and doesn’t want, he must decide what the future holds for him and act accordingly. 

Can their mentor Joe Leaphorn—a man also looking at the past for answers to the future—provide the guidance both Bernie and Chee need? And will the Navajo heroes that stud the starry sky help them find justice—and the truth they seek?

…………………

Tony Hillerman originally wrote this series and his daughter has continued writing books the series since he died. I’m so happy that she has done so since I’ve read one of her series books and really enjoyed it.

I’ve read these books since I was a teenager and in the past several years have slowly reread and read new ones I hadn’t read before. Thoroughly enjoying them!

Five favorite mystery writers

I love mysteries–what about you?

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

This week I’m talking about mystery writers. These aren’t my only favorite mystery writers though these authors would all make a much longer favorite’s list. All these authors have written multiple books. I have read many of their books–sometimes all that they’ve written.

Two of these authors have died. I’ve included a sixth author since the daughter of Tony Hillerman has continued the series of books he’s famous for writing. I could have included Agatha Christie in this list since I’ve been reading her books since I was a teenager. I think she may have been the first mystery author I ever read. However, I wanted to write about authors you might not have heard of. I’ve also added four covers of their books to show a representative sample of their books.

Deborah Crombie

I discovered Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James mystery series about five years ago. I think I read at least 10 books in the series that first year!

This is a British police procedural series. I especially enjoy the relationship between Duncan and Gemma. The characters live in London, but several of the books take place in other parts of Great Britain. There are 18 books in the series so far and I’ve read them all!

Elly Griffiths

There are 12 books in this series so far. I’ve read 10 of them. I’m reading them slower now so I don’t run out too quickly. Elly Griffiths is writing more in this series–usually about one a year. I haven’t read the other series she writes yet so I do have that to look forward to.

The Ruth Galloway series is the series I’m reading and it’s practically a police procedural since Ruth is a forensic archaeologist and often assists the police. The books usually take place in the Norfolk area of England and the books contain bones–sometimes very old bones and sometimes bones that aren’t so old. Detective Chief Inspector Nelson is also a well-drawn character in these books. In fact, the books have so many interesting characters that I feel I know them. If I was introduced to any of them I would think of them as old friends!

Tony Hillerman & Anne Hillerman

I started reading these books when I was a teenager. I stopped reading mysteries for a while after 9/11 in 2001 so I’ve had a few I haven’t read. I have gone back and reread some of the books I read more than twenty years ago. Since Tony Hillerman wrote his first book (in the Joe Leaphorn series) in 1970 and I started reading them almost immediately I read the earliest books over 40 years ago!

The books take place in New Mexico and Arizona on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Joe Leaphorn is a lieutenant in the Navajo Tribal Police. Sgt. Jim Chee comes along later and for awhile Tony Hillerman wrote separate mysteries. Finally, he brought them together in book 7–Skinwalkers. Both characters are so good to read about and they both feel like old friends!

Ann Hillerman (Tony’s daughter) continued writing the series after Tony Hillerman died in 2008. Her first book Spider Woman’s Daughter was written in 2013 and she will publish the 24th book in the series (her sixth book) in April 2021. I skipped ahead in the series a couple years ago to read one of her books–Song of the Lion–to see if I liked her writing and I danced a happy dance!

Julia Spencer-Fleming

There are 9 books in this series so far. I love the setting of the books in upstate New York. The name of the town is evocative–Millers Kill.

The series main characters are Reverend Clare Ferguson who is an Episcopalian priest. Before she became a priest she was a soldier–a helicopter pilot–so she’s a nuanced character! Russ Van Alstyne is the Chief of Police in Millers Kill. The titles of the books come from the Episcopalian hymnal which I think is pretty awesome! I grew up Episcopalian so that drew me to these books. In several books I worried I wouldn’t continue with the series, but Julia Spencer-Fleming managed a long arc in this series with aplomb and grace. I also really like that she tackles difficult topics–addiction, PTSD and a Veteran’s support group, for example in One Was a Soldier.

Dick Francis

Dick Francis is another author I started reading as a teenager. Most of his books are stand-alone mysteries and all of them have something to do with horse racing. Dick Francis was a successful steeplechase jockey in Great Britain who began writing when he retired. He died in 2010, but his son Felix Francis is continuing to write books that have both their names on them. (I think Felix began writing with his dad before Dick Francis died.)

I love horses–and especially did as a teenager. His earliest books begin with jockeys and later on continue with main characters who aren’t jockeys and have more of a peripheral role in the horse racing world.

One of the other things I loved about reading Hillerman’s and Francis’s books is that my Mom also read them and we would talk about them. We were always so excited when we found out one of them had a new book out! I really miss talking about and sharing books since my Mom died in 2012.

Have you read any of these authors? Do you read mysteries? If you do, who are your favorite mystery writers?

My favorite 2018 new-to-me authors

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists be sure to check it out. I haven’t joined in too much lately, but plan to participate more this year.

The subject this week is “New-to-Me Authors I read in 2018.” Every year I read books by new authors and love many of the books I read by them. In 2018 I read 35 books by “new-to-me” authors. These are my favorites:

Katherine Arden

I read The Bear and the Nightingale, the first book of the Winternight Trilogy. It’s a historical fantasy set in Russia and a fairytale retelling that’s so rich in detail that I felt I was in Russia when I listened to this audiobook.

W.R. Gingell

I read seven of W.R. Gingell’s fantasies in 2018. Ms. Gingell is a self-published author and many of her books are imaginative fairytale retellings with a dose of romance. She is the author I glommed the most during 2018!

Abir Mukherjee

A Rising Man takes place in India. It is a historical mystery about a former Scotland Yard detective arriving in  Calcutta, India to take a post in the local police force. The book details not only a murder and the mystery surrounding it, but all the politics of the Brits in India when the stability of the British Raj is slipping.

Sujata Massey

The Widows of Malabar Hill–another book which takes place in India is also a historical mystery taking place in 1921 Bombay. Perveen Mistry arrives back in India after graduating from law school at Oxford in England. She joins her father’s law firm as one of the first female lawyers in India. She’s a strong advocate for women’s rights, but learns she must tread lightly and though her father is proud of her he isn’t always willing or able to aid her legal career. The mystery and story in this book are very intriguing.

Anne Hillerman

After her father–Tony Hillerman–died, Anne Hillerman continued the Leaphorn & Chee series he wrote for years. Song of the Lion was the first book I read by her and I was so relieved when I read it. She does a great job with the characters and the mystery. I love the Leaphorn & Chee series which I’ve read since I was a teenager. I’m slowly working my way through this series. In some cases I’ve reread books, but in other cases I’m reading them for the first time since I stopped reading mysteries for a few years.

C.J. Cherryh

C.J. Cherryh is a classic science fiction author whom I never heard of when I first started reading science fiction. I only started hearing about her after the internet gave me access to more books, blogs, authors and all else dealing with reading. The Pride of Chanur, the first book in the Chanur series involves humans, but is written from the viewpoint of other alien races. Not something I’ve seen very often when a science fiction has humans in it.

Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning is the first book by Ms. Roanhorse and it’s such a good book. It’s a distopian urban fantasy about Navajo Indians with lots of their mythology and stories. I loved it and the second book in the series–Storm of Locusts–is due to come out in April. It’s one of my most anticipated books of 2019.

Heather Gudenkauf

I was looking for a book to read by an Iowa author when I discovered Heather Gudenkauf. Not a Sound is such a good suspenseful mystery. It also has a wonderful therapy dog who helps the main character who is deaf. I want to read more books by Ms. Gudenkauf!

Jackie Bouchard

What the Dog Ate isn’t the type of book I read too often–women’s fiction with a little romance thrown in. Barb @ Booker T’s Farm wrote about Jackie Bouchard in one of her posts. I don’t remember which one, but she mentioned that Jackie Bouchard wrote about dogs. Reading good stories about dogs (not books where dogs die) has been one of my favorite themes of 2018. This book is funny, sad and very human. I want to read more books by Ms. Bouchard!

Jenny Colgan

Christmas on the Island was the best Christmas themed book I read this year. It takes place on a remote Scottish island and is the third book in a series. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series and could tell I was missing some of the fun of this book. I’m going to try to read the earlier books. This is another women’s fiction with a little romance and a lot about life on an island especially during the dark days of winter on a remote northern island and how they celebrate Christmas. There’s heartache and sadness, but also joy and Christmas happiness.

Lisa Preston

The Clincher is about a young woman who makes her living as a horseshoer. I was initially drawn to this book by the synopsis which says the book takes place in a fictional part of Central Oregon. Since I lived in Central Oregon at one time I immediately wanted to read this book! The fact it’s a mystery whose main character has an interesting occupation also helped. I really liked this first book a new series and hope another one comes soon.

Susan Furlong

Splintered Silence was my last book of 2018 and was a good book to end the year. The book featured Irish Travellers. We have enclaves of Irish Travellers in this country…who knew? They are also still in Ireland and in Ireland they were finally recognized in 2017 as an official ethnic group. In this book the main character comes back home to hostility from both her family, other Travellers and from the local town. She left to get away from all that as well as other problems, but an IED (improvised explosive device) ended both her Marine MP career and her K-9 partner’s career. Bodies turn up in this book and Brynn and her K-9 partner help solve the mystery.

Did you read new authors in 2018? Who were your favorites?

Review: Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

Note: I’m going out-of-town for a couple of weeks and I don’t know that I will have internet very much. I have a few posts I’ve scheduled, but I probably won’t get to check my blog very often. I was just starting to finally answer some of the comments people have posted and visit a few blogs, but that may not happen again very soon.

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito #21

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: Arizona and New Mexico and the Grand Canyon

Source: Audiobook, Library

Narrator: Christina Delaine

Publishing Date: 2017

293 pages; 10 hours, 12 minutes

Synopsis: A deadly bombing takes Navajo Tribal cops Bernadette Manuelito, Jim Chee, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, back into the past to find a vengeful killer in this riveting Southwestern mystery from the bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock with Wings

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers that the intended victim was a mediator for a multi-million-dollar development planned at the Grand Canyon. 

My thoughts

I’ve read the Leaphorn & Chee books written by the late Tony Hillerman for years, but this book is written by his daughter, Anne Hillerman, and it’s the first book I’ve read by her. I was a little worried when I saw she was continuing the series, but I loved this book. I feel it’s a great continuation of the series and I’m very happy she has written more books in this series.

There are earlier books I haven’t read (by both Hillermans) so I’m going back and reading some of those. Some things have obviously happened in these books that I haven’t read about yet!

The Grand Canyon

This is a really good mystery involving environmental issues and development in the Grand Canyon area. Lots of different groups want to weigh in on the issue of building a hotel near the Grand Canyon. Different Indian tribes may have different views as well as the many different views of the non-Indians. When the mediator’s car is bombed and someone dies the questions abound. Was the bomber killed? Is this ecoterrorism? Is the mediator in danger?

This is a part of the United States I love so I always enjoy books that take place in the Southwest. I think the book does a good job showing the beauty of that part of the country.

Bernie Manuelito

It was so fun to read about Manuelito as well as Leaphorn and Chee. I like that the narrator for Anne Hillerman’s books are narrated by a woman. That makes me feel Manuelito is getting equal billing with Leaphorn and Chee . (The cover of this book says “A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel” even though Goodreads doesn’t show that with their listing.) I like the way the three of them work together deciphering clues and depending on each other. It’s a really good mystery and I can’t wait to read more. And I like the part the lion plays in the story!

Audiobook

I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the narrator–Christina Delaine. She did a great job with the different voices. A lot of the voices were male and I always thought they were male. Now I want to read and/or listen to more books in this series very soon!

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book with an animal in the title