Review: The Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman

the-fallen-man by tony hillermanThe Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn and Chee #12

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: New Mexico & Colorado

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 1996

336 pages

Synopsis: Human bones lie on a ledge under the peak of Ship Rock mountain, the remains of a murder victim undisturbed for more than a decade. Three hundred miles across the Navajo reservation, a harmless old canyon guide is felled by a sniper’s bullet. Joe Leaphorn, recently retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, believes the shooter and the skeleton are somehow connected and recalls a chilling puzzle he was previously unable to solve. But Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee is too busy to take an interest in a dusty cold case … until the reborn violence of it hits much too close to home.

My thoughts

I’m loving reading (and in some cases rereading) these Hillerman books. Each time I start one of these books it’s like seeing and talking to an old friend again. I love both Leaphorn and Chee. They’re so different from each other, but also at a basic level very much the same. They both have a moral center that pervades all their actions. That doesn’t mean they’re never wrong or that they don’t make mistakes, but they try to do the right thing.

Chee has slowly become more self-confident as the books move forward and he learns from the things he does and from Leaphorn. He’s matured and is no longer so apt to jump into a situation without thinking. I always like a character who grows and changes as the series moves forward.

Leaphorn, on the other hand, has become older and sadder. His beloved wife has died and he has finally retired. At the beginning of this book he’s bored and finds himself roped into a 10-year-old case of a missing man. He investigated that missing person case at the time and didn’t find many clues to the man’s disappearance.

Now, however, bones of a man are discovered on a ledge on Ship Rock mountain. It looks like the missing man has been found. But so many questions remain–what was he doing on Ship Rock? Did he try to climb the mountain alone? If other climbers were with him, why did they leave him? Was he alive after the fall?

Follow the money

Of course, it looks like money is involved in this case. The man’s widow inherited the ranch he had just inherited. The man’s wealthy family wants that ranch back since there are mineral deposits on the ranch. They hire Leaphorn despite Leaphorn’s reluctance to investigate the man’s death. The widow just wants to live on the ranch and raise cattle.

Acting Lieutenant Chee (provisionally promoted after Leaphorn retires) is also investigating the case, but so far the death is ruled an accident. And Chee has other cases (cattle rustling, a shooting, gang problems) to investigate plus all the paperwork a lieutenant must complete. He doesn’t really like the job, but he’s trying to show his fiance, Janet Pete, that he’s responsible and ambitious–except he isn’t really very ambitious. Chee just doesn’t seem to date women who are very compatible with him!

I recommend this series if you like police procedurals, law officers trying their best to do the “right” thing, a good mystery without graphic violence, books taking place in the western United States, or if you just like to read…lol.

My 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!

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

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-

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

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