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Most Helpful Favorable Review
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.
As always, a pure joy to read! I loved it!
posted by Anonymous on November 29, 2007Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.
Yet another disappointment from Tony Hillerman
posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2006Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 29, 2007
As always, a pure joy to read! I loved it!
I've read a few of the other reviews, and felt I needed to put in my 2 cents. I read purely for enjoyment, not to critique the plot, or the characters. As far as I am concerned, this is another terrific story in the Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee series by Tony Hillerman. Joe is a retired Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant, who over the past few years since retirement has found several puzzles to keep him occupied. The latest is a photo sent to him by his friend Mel Bork of an old Navajo rug that is up for auction. Problem is, the rug was burned long ago in a fire, the same fire that killed a criminal Joe was after. It's a case that was never solved, and when Mel Bork disappears, Joe digs into it once again. As always, there is a wealth of cultural information, especially regarding the shapeshifter legends, and the usual breathtaking scenery that Tony paints so well in the imagination.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2009
Posted November 23, 2006
Retired Navajo Cop Joe Leaphorn is (Mostly) on His Own Solving a Cold Case File in `The Shape Shifter¿
By David M. Kinchen An intriguing letter from a retired cop draws retired Navajo Tribal Police Officer Lt. Joe Leaphorn back into the crime-solving game in Tony Hillerman¿s 18th Leaphorn/Chee procedural ¿The Shape Shifter¿ (HarperCollins, 288 pages, $26.95). As a big fan of Hillerman¿s who has been to the area in question on a number of occasions, I was delighted to see the return of Leaphorn (his last appearance was in 2004¿s ¿Skeleton Man¿). In his letter from Flagstaff, Arizona to Joe in Shiprock, NM -- the Navajo Reservation sprawls over Arizona, New Mexico and Utah in the Four Corners area where the three states ¿ and Colorado -- come together ¿ Melvin Bork includes a photo from a glossy lifestyle magazine showing a one-of-a-kind Navajo tale-telling rug that everybody believes had been destroyed in a trading post fire years before. Leaphorn is often called on, even in retirement, to help solve crimes ¿ this was the case in ¿Skeleton Man¿ -- but this one is special since it involves an elderly Navajo woman, two buckets of pinyon tree sap that may have a connection with the fire, the missing rug and a mysterious rich man named Jason Delos, living in an estate on the foothills north of Flagstaff who may or may not possess the rug. Joe Leaphorn was a young cop when the pinyon tree sap was stolen and he never found the thief, much to the disgust of the elderly lady, who is still alive. The sap is used by Navajo craft people to waterproof their woven baskets. Leaphorn, a widower bored with retirement, hops in his pickup and scouts out the territory with a cop he knows in Flagstaff, Sgt. Kelly Garcia, with the Coconino County Sheriff¿s Department, before going on to visit Bork. He then gets a call from Mrs. Grace Bork, saying that her husband has gone missing on his way to talk to Delos or returning from a visit to him. Sgt. Jim Chee, Leaphorn¿s protégé, has just returned from his Hawaii honeymoon after marrying Bernadette Manuelito, also a member of the tribal police force. Leaphorn is a little hesitant about enlisting the aid of the newly weds, but Bernadette is eager to get back to work and she and Chee make some official phone calls for their old boss. Is Jason Delos the ¿shape shifter¿ in this procedural which takes us on a tour of the Four Corners area, much of it on ¿Diné Bikéyah,¿ or Navajoland, which covers 27,000 square miles, bigger than West Virginia and 9 other states? In Navajo lore, a ¿shape shifter¿ or ¿skinwalker¿ is a creature who can change shape, gender or species to deceive his enemies or those pursuing him. It¿s a common theme in other cultures (see web site reference at the end of this review). Leaphorn visits Delos to check out the rug and to find out what happened to his friend Melvin Bork, another Western ¿country cop¿ he met at the FBI Academy in Virginia and who after his retirement as a cop became a private investigator in Flagstaff, the metropolis of northern Arizona. Investment banker Delos has a young manservant named Tommy Vang, a Hmong refugee from Laos whom Delos, supposedly a CIA agent, rescued. The Hmong are indigenous peoples who¿ve been hiding from the Vietnamese and Lao military ever since they helped the American forces in what has been called the ¿secret war¿ in Indochina in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of them have moved to the U.S., especially to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Since the plot is involved and vital to the story, I will go no further, other than to say that Joe Leaphorn combines the best of his Dineh (Navajo) heritage, as well as modern detection skills. Plus he¿s always ready for a good cup of coffee ¿ a man after my own heart! On a trip to California a few years ago via Interstate 40, I stopped for a coffee and a burger at a fast-food restaurant in Winslow, AZ (yes, the same town made famous in the Eagles¿ song ¿Take It Easy¿!). In the parking lot was a Dodge Ramcharger, I believe (it could have been a Ford Bronco) emblazoned with the lettering ¿NWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Though retired from the Navajo Tribal Police force, former Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn occasionally helps out his former peers when they ask him to investigate unusually difficult cases. This time it is Joe initiating the inquiry. --- He visits his friends newlyweds Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito just back from their honeymoon to get their opinion on a cold case that he and his former FBI partner Mel Bork investigated. Mel sent Joe a page from a magazine Luxury Living that contained a picture with an ancient hand weaved rug that looks like the one that was reported destroyed in an arson fire at Totter¿s Trading Post. That blaze allegedly took the life of an FBI most wanted killer Totter recently was reported dead and buried in a VA cemetery, but that proved false. His efforts to contact Bork fail and soon Joe learns his friend has been murdered he assumes he is also on a diabolical killer¿s list to eliminate potential witnesses who could identify him. Jim and Bernie insist on joining Joe in going after the predator. --- Grandmaster Tony Hillerman is at his best with this excellent thriller that ties several seemingly unrelated subplots (beyond just what is above) into a cohesive cat and mouse tale that never slows down from the moment Joe meets with the honeymooners. The action-packed story line is filled with twists that will surprise readers yet are plausible as Joe struggles with Granny¿s stolen buckets, FBI, Vietnam War, arson, murder and being the rodent in a game orchestrated by a clever leopard who can change spots. The climax will add to Mr. Hillerman¿s reputation as one of the all time mystery writing greats. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 12, 2011
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