The Ghostway (Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Series #6)

The Ghostway (Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Series #6)

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by Tony Hillerman

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Old Joseph Joe sees it all, Two strangers spill blood at the Shiprock Wash-O-Mat. One dies. The other drives off into the dry lands of the Big Reservation, but not before he shows the old Navajo a photo of the man he seeks. This is enough to send Tribal Policeman Jim Chee after a killer . . . and on an odyssey of murder and revenge that moves from an Indian hogan

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Old Joseph Joe sees it all, Two strangers spill blood at the Shiprock Wash-O-Mat. One dies. The other drives off into the dry lands of the Big Reservation, but not before he shows the old Navajo a photo of the man he seeks. This is enough to send Tribal Policeman Jim Chee after a killer . . . and on an odyssey of murder and revenge that moves from an Indian hogan and its trapped ghost, to the dark underbelly of L.A., to a healing ceremony whose cure could be death.

Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
A first-rate story of suspense and mystery.
Los Angeles Times
Fresh, original and highly suspenseful.
New York Times Book Review
One of the best of the series.
New York Post
“A first-rate story of suspense and mystery.”
Palm Beach Post
“He’s a master storyteller.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Series, #6
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.84(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Hosteen Joseph Joe remembered it like this.

He'd noticed the green car just as he came out of the Shiprock Economy Wash-O-Mat. The red light of sundown reflected from its windshield. Above the line of yellow cottonwoods along the San Juan River the shape of Shiprock was blueblack and ragged against the glow. The car looked brand new and it was rolling slowly across the gravel, the driver leaning out the window just a little. The driver had yelled at Joseph Joe.

"Hey!" he'd yelled. "Come here a minute."

Joseph Joe remembered that very clearly. The driver looked like a Navajo, but yelling at him like that was not a Navajo thing to do because Joseph Joe was eighty-one years old, and the people around Shiprock and up in the Chuska Mountains called him Hosteen, which means "old man" and is a term of great respect.

Joseph Joe had put his laundry sack into the back of his daughter's pickup truck and walked over to the car. He noticed its plates weren't yellow, like New Mexico's, or white, like Arizona's. They were blue.

"I'm looking for a man named Gorman," the driver had said. "Leroy Gorman. A Navajo. Moved here little while ago."

"I don't know him," Joseph Joe had said. He had said it in Navajo, because when he got close he saw he had been right. The man was a Navajo. But the driver just frowned at him.

"You speak English?" the driver asked.

"I don't know Leroy Gorman." Hosteen Joe said it in English this time.

"He's been around here several weeks," the driver said. "Young fellow. Little older than me. Medium-sized. Hell, small as this place is, I'd think you'd have seen him."

"I don't know him," Joseph Joe repeated, "I don't live in this town. I live at my daughter's place. Out there near the Shiprock." Joseph Joe had gestured toward the Arizona border and the old volcano core outlined by the sunset. "Don't live in here with all these people," he explained.

"I'll bet you've seen him," the driver said. He took out his billfold and fished a photograph out of it. "This is him," the driver said and handed the photograph to Hosteen Joe.

Joseph Joe looked at it carefully, as courtesy demanded. It was a Polaroid photograph, like the ones his granddaughter took. There was something written on the back of it, and an address. The front was a picture of a man standing by the door of a house trailer, which was partly shaded by a cottonwood tree. Hosteen Joe took off his glasses and wiped them off carefully on his sleeve and looked a long time at the young man's face. He didn't recognize him, and that's what he said when he handed the driver his photograph. After that, he didn't remember the rest of it quite as clearly because just then it all began to happen.

The driver was saying something to him about the trailer, maybe about Gorman living in it or trying to sell it or something, and then there was the sound of a car braking on the highway, tires squealing a little, and the car backing up and whipping around and driving into the Wash-O-Mat parking lot. This car was new too. A Ford sedan.

It stopped just in front of the driver's car. A man wearing a plaid coat got out of it and walked toward them and then stopped suddenly, apparently noticing Joseph Joe for the first time. Plaid Coat said something to the driver. As Joseph Joe remembered, it was "Hello, Albert," but the driver didn't say anything. Then Plaid Coat said, "You forgot to do what you were told. You've got to come along with me. You're not supposed to be here." Or something like that. And then he had looked at Joseph Joe and said, "We've got business, old man. You go away now."

Hosteen Joe had turned then and walked back toward his daughter's truck. Behind him he heard the sound of a car door opening. Then closing. A yell. The sharp clap of a pistol shot. And then another shot, and another, and another. When he turned he saw Plaid Coat on the gravel and the driver holding himself up by clinging to the door of his car. Then the driver got in and drove away. When the car got to the asphalt, it turned toward the river and toward the junction, which would either take it west toward Teec Nos Pos or south toward Gallup.

People were running out of the Wash-O-Mat by then, yelling questions. But Hosteen Joe just looked at Plaid Coat, sprawled on his side on the gravel with a pistol on the ground beside him and blood running out his mouth. Then he got into his daughter's truck.

The driver was Navajo, but this was white man's business.

Chapter Two

"Funny how a premonition works," the deputy said. "I been in this business almost thirty years, and I never had one before."

Jim Chee said nothing. He was trying to recreate precisely and exactly the moment when he had known everything was going wrong with Mary Landon. He didn't want to think about the deputy's premonitions. He'd said something to Mary about his house trailer being too small for both of them, and she'd said, "Hey, wait a minute, Jim Chee, what have you done about that application with the FBI?" and he'd told her that he'd decided not to mail it. And Mary had just sat there in the Crownpoint Café, not looking at him or saying anything, and finally she'd sighed and shook her head and said, "Why should you be any different from everybody else?" and laughed a laugh with absolutely no humor in it.

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Ghostway 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chee is a likable character, and I liked getting into his thoughts as he's solving the mystery. Native American life and lore adds an interesting and different element.
QueenJody More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Tony Hillerman. This is my second time around reading his Leaphorn/Chee novels. Even though they are set in the 1970's they are relevant and fun reads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has some of the Indian lore that keeps Hillerman fans coming back, but not enough. The investigation involves too much non-reservation settings, which does not seem consistent with Jim Chee's style.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Ghostway By:Tony HIllerman

Main character: The main character in this story is named Joseph Joe. He is old, mid ranged smart, is kind and wants to help, and he is of good help in this story.Joseph is the only one who saw the murder.

Plot:The problem in my story is about a murder. In this murder a guy named Joseph Joe has to help the police. He has to find the guy that murded his neighbor that he didn't even know about. The killer in this book basically picked up the nieghbor in his truck, shot him, and then drove off. This is the main problem in my story.

Setting: There is no setting described except when he is chasing the killer in the mountains and in L.A.

Theme: This story's point is suspense and to teach children to not commit murder because you will be caught.

Connection: I can connect to this story because i ahve chased someone into the mountains and he somehow got away. Also i can connect this story to another story called Brian's Winter because Brian is lost and the driver of the airplane is dead.

Names of related books: Brian's winter
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Ghostway by Tony Hillerman was an interesting mystery about a murder in a small town. The reason I started to read this book is because I like things that have information about Indians. Some of the main characters in the story are Chee, Margaret Billy Sosi, and Vaggan. This story is about a murder which Chee is trying to solve. He goes to L.A. to try to find Margaret Billy Sosi because she is the key to solving the case. Vaggan is a hired hitman who is also looking for Margaret Billy Sosi, but he wants to kill her. This story is good because it has a lot of suspense and mystery. I give this book a five star rating. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books filled with suspense and mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Ghostway is one of the best Hillerman mysteries, and I've enjoyed every one of them! Chee has too many things on his plate in this one - a woman who wants him become more like white society, a boss who wants to keep him out of political trouble with the Feds, and a murder that invokes his sense of responsibility as a hataalii - a medicine man. READ THIS ONE! Then find all of Hillerman's work! Worth every minute!