A picture cut from a glossy magazine, Luxury Living, draws retired Navajo tribal policeman Lt. Joe Leaphorn into a hunt for a soulless killer in bestseller Hillerman's enthralling 18th Leaphorn/Chee whodunit (after 2004's Skeleton Man). The picture's sender, Mel Bork, another cop retiree, wonders if the distinctive Navajo rug shown in the picture is the same one Leaphorn described to him long ago, a rug supposedly destroyed in a fire the two officers investigated that took the life of a person identified as among the FBI's most wanted. Bork's subsequent disappearance and murder herald the dangers awaiting Leaphorn from a most formidable enemy. As Leaphorn searches for evidence to confirm his suspicions, he enlists the aid of Sgt. Jim Chee and his bride, Bernadette Manuelito, just back from their honeymoon. Only Hillerman could so masterfully connect such disparate elements as an ancient cursed weaving, two stolen buckets of pi?on sap and the Vietnam War. The conclusion is sure to startle longtime fans of this acclaimed mystery series. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Hillerman's latest venture (after Skeleton Man) into the familiar world of the Navajo reservation in Arizona and New Mexico is not his best, but it will still be enjoyed by his loyal fans. Sgt. Jim Chee and his new wife, Bernie, have just returned from their honeymoon and thus have only a peripheral role here. Lt. Joe Leaphorn, recently retired from the Navajo police force, is front and center in the action, which begins when he receives a letter from an old acquaintance questioning the conclusions they reached years ago in the case of a burned-out trading post. The titular shape shifter refers to the many identities the bad guy has assumed and gives Leaphorn chances to relate Navajo tales of evil and witchcraft. As always, Hillerman seamlessly weaves bits of Navajo lore and history into the narrative, the major strength of this entry in his long-lived series. Purchase where Hillerman is popular; his fans will appreciate the update on the lives of Leaphorn and Chee. [See Prepub Alerts, LJ 2/15/06; 7/15/06.]-Ann Forister, Roseville, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.