Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Book #5 for the Book Awards Challenge

Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman is one in a series of mysteries featuring Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and police officer Jim Chee. These Navajo tribal policemen are involved in a case that seems to have elements of tribal witchcraft. It's a sad story in many ways. I enjoyed the characters. The main characters have personal sub-plots that I found interesting. There's Lieutenant Leaphorn who is concerned about the health of his wife as he tries to convince her to add "white men's" medicine to the traditional Native healing ceremonies she's always used. Officer Chee is in training to become a healer and has led one Blessing Way ceremony successfully. And then Chee has a cat he's concerned about. The other characters are not fleshed out as well, but I didn't really need them to be. The relationships between the characters are well-drawn, too, and I could hear the conversations as natural.

We watched the PBS Mystery that's based on this book, but it bears little resemblance to the book. We liked the show and thought the characters well-cast, but except for being called Skinwalkers and having characters named Leaphorn and Chee there was very little to connect them.

from the back of the book:

United for the first time, Navajo Tribal Police officer Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn together embark on a murder investigation that leads them into the dark and mystical world of Indian witchcraft. Tony Hillerman's very special feel for the Navajo Way and the American Southwest has never before been conveyed so powerfully as in this haunting, suspenseful, beautifully written mystery novel.


Oops! I forgot to say that this book won an Anthony Award in 1988.

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