Tony Hillerman (1925-2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two children's books, and nonfiction works. He had received every major honor for mystery fiction; awards ranging from the Navajo Tribal Council's commendation to France 's esteemed Grand prix de litterature policiere. Western Writers of America honored him with the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He served as president of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and was honored with that group's Edgar Award and as one of mystery fiction's Grand Masters. In 2001, his memoir, Seldom Disappointed, won both the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best nonfiction. George Guidall is one of the foremost narrators in the audiobook industry, having recorded over 500 unabridged books ranging from classics to contemporary bestsellers. He is the recipient of the 1999 Audie Award presented by the Audio Publishers Association for the best narration of unabridged fiction.
When Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee finds a Hopi eagle poacher bending over the body of a Navajo Tribal Officer, he's certain he has arrested the murderer until questioned by the now-retired Legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, hired to find a virologist who disappeared from the vicinity on the same day. Was Catherine Pollard, who had been searching for fleas infected with bubonic plague, a witness to the crime or the perpetrator? To get to the truth, Chee and Leaphorn must find Pollard and the first eagle the Hopi poacher claims to have caught. Although Hillerman throws in some Hot Zone touches, Ron Querry's Bad Medicine (LJ 2/15/98) is a bit more successful at generating suspense than this routine mystery in which Chee's and Leaphorn's personal lives are more interesting than their professional ones. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/98.]‘Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
The modern resurgence of the black death animates Hillerman's 14th tale featuring retired widower Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee. Bubonic plague has survived for centuries in the prairie-dog villages of the Southwest, where its continuing adaptation to modern antibiotics has increased its potential for mass destruction. Leaphorn is hired by a wealthy Santa Fe woman to search for her granddaughter, biologist Catherine Pollard, who has disappeared during her field work as a "flea catcher," collecting plague-carrying specimens from desert rodents. At the same time, Jim Chee arrests Robert Jano, a young Hopi man and known poacher of eagles, in the bludgeoning death of another Navajo Police officer at a site where the biologist was seen working. As Leaphorn learns more about Pollard's work from her boss in the Indian Health Service and an epidemiologist with ties to a pharmaceutical company, the U.S. Attorney's office decides to seek the death penalty against Jano, who is being represented by Chee's former fiancée, Janet Pete, recently returned from Washington, D.C. Hillerman's trademark melding of Navajo tradition and modern culture is captured with crystal clarity in this tale of an ancient scourge's resurgence in today's world. The uneasy mix of old ways and new is articulated with resonant depth as Chee, an aspiring shaman, is driven to choose between his career and his commitment to the ways of his people, and Leaphorn moves into a deeper friendship with ethnology professor, Louisa Bourebonette. Author tour. (Aug.) FYI: Simultaneous release by HarperAudio in abridged ($25 ISBN 0-694-52011-X) and unabridged ($34.95 ISBN 0-694-52051-9) editions.
YA-Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police is investigating the murder of a fellow officer-apparently committed by a young Hopi poaching eagles for ceremonial purposes. Chee's former mentor, Joe Leaphorn, is now retired and on his first case as a private detective, looking for a missing biologist who has been studying the spread of infectious diseases on the reservation. The men's destinies intersect once more in this case in which clues, like eagles, can only be found and understood by those who belong to the world of the reservation. Hillerman communicates a sense of the great space, beauty, and physical hardship of the desert landscape, and of the character of the people who live there. The mystery is set against a cultural backdrop of conflicts between Navajo and Hopi, Tribal and FBI law enforcement, sheep camp and city Navajo, and government and academic scientists studying disease outbreaks. The solution to the murder mystery comes stunningly into focus once the clues are all present and understood-but sadly (and true to life), the larger question of justice on the reservation, like the fate of the first eagle, is left unresolved. A disturbing but fascinating story.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA