Saturday, September 17, 2016

Hunting Badger

Hunting Badger is the 14th book in Tony Hillerman's Leaphorn/Chee mystery series. I started reading this series long ago, and I'm trying to read them in order as I'm able. The characters are interesting, the setting is fascinating, and the plots don't disappoint. There's no down-side to this series.

from the dust jacket:
Navajo crimebusters Leaphorn and Chee are back together on a case, and at odds with the FBI over a backcountry manhunt in this latest thrilling addition to Tony Hillerman's best-selling series.

In 1998 three heavily armed "survivalists" came out of the Four Corners canyons in a stolen truck. They murdered a policeman, had a shootout with pursuers, and then vanished -eluding a manhunt that eventually involved hundreds of officers from more than twenty federal and state agencies. The crime and the bungled FBI investigation left behind a web of mysteries: Why did one of the bandits kill himself? How did the others escape? Why has no one in this impoverished area claimed the huge reward the government still offers? Most puzzling of all, what crime were they en route to commit when Officer Dale Claxton stopped them -and paid for his bravery with his life?

Tony Hillerman assigns these real puzzles to his fictional Navajo Tribal Police officers -Sergeant Jim Chee and retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn. The time is now, and the memory of the mishandled manhunt of 1998 is still painfully fresh. Three men stage a predawn raid on the Ute tribes gambling casino. They kill one policeman, wound another, and disappear in the maze of canyons on the Utah-Arizona border. The FBI takes over the investigation, and agents swarm in with their helicopters, their high-tech equipment, and a theory of the crime that makes a wounded deputy sheriff a suspect. This development calls Chee in from his vacation, and a request for a favor draws in Leaphorn. Chee finds a fatal flaw in the federal theory, and Leaphorn sees an intriguing pattern connecting this crime with the exploits of a legendary Ute hero-bandit.

Tightly plotted and beautifully written, Hunting Badger proves once again that Tony Hillerman is a master storyteller.
The NYT has a positive review. Kirkus Reviews calls the author "the doyen of the regional mystery —a master who, like his hero, keeps his best tricks till last." Publishers Weekly says, "Here Hillerman is in top form, creating dialogue that will bring listeners into real sympathy with the people and proceedings described."

I've read these from this series:
1. The Blessing Way (1970)
2. Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)

4. People of Darkness (1980)
5. The Dark Wind (1982)
6. The Ghostway (1984)

7. Skinwalkers (1986)
8. Thief of Time (1988)
9. Talking God (1989)
10. Coyote Waits (1990)
11. Sacred Clowns (1993)
12. The Fallen Man (1996)
13. The First Eagle (1998)

16. The Sinister Pig (2003)


  1. I am with you on this series. I love them. I was at a street fair this past summer- where they had a used book tent, and I got 5 of them I haven't read. I was very excited. Love hearing about the books you read. Hugs-Erika

    1. What a find! I'm glad I still have some I haven't read :)

  2. Every time you review one of these Hillerman books, I keep wishing our library carried them. This series looks so promising, I really MUST look for them at garage sales and used book stores (if there are any left in Wichita).

    1. Maybe your library could find them through an inter-library loan? I've found a lot of them used, though, so I'm hoping you'll come across one to try :)

  3. These sound good. They're on my library list. Thanks for posting them in order, too. :)

    1. I didn't read them in order to start with, but just as I came across them. The characters do age, though, and change through the series. I hope you like them :)