Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher:  HarperTorch
Release Date:  May 2002
ISBN: 0061000175 
Format Reviewed:  Paperback
Genre: Mystery/thriller 
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Dennis Collins 

Joe Leaphorn & Jim Chee #1
By Tony Hillerman

     Jim Chee is a policeman on the tribal force at a Navajo reservation. He lives a simple life residing in a mobile home all alone except for an occasional visit from a stray cat. His quiet lifestyle is shattered by three midnight shotgun blasts that are barely slowed by the thin aluminum skin of his house trailer. Only his mattress saves his life. Jim has no idea why anyone would try to kill him and the haunting thought of an unknown assassin lying in wait causes him to resort to a few radical changes in his habits.

     Meanwhile Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn in another part of the reservation, is investigating a couple of seemingly unrelated murders in the Navajo community. Lieutenant Leaphorn is a logical thinker and can't accept the possibility of a coincidence in a society where murders are a rare occurrence. He looks at the attempt on Jim Chee's life as being very likely related to the other killings and begins to look for threads to tie it all together. In the process Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn forge a solid working relationship that combines methodical detective work with an understanding of the Navajo culture with all of it's customs and religious beliefs.

     Skinwalkers is the first book in a series that brings these two dynamic personalities together. Hopefully it will be an enduring procession of exciting and forceful novels. The author has obviously done his homework in researching the Navajo way of life. He treats the tribe and its values with respect and reverence while telling a truly thrilling and fast paced tale.

     This is an extremely well written book that will easily hold the reader's interest and leave them wanting more. Author Tony Hillerman paints very colorful word pictures and his characters are human enough to be one of your own family. I just wish I'd have discovered him sooner.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Skinwalkers #1 (Tony Hillerman)
Dance of the Dead
#2 (Tony Hillerman)
People of Darkness (Jim Chee #2) (Tony Hillerman)
Thief in Time #8 (Tony Hillerman)
Skeleton Man #17 (Tony Hillerman)
The Shape Shifter #18 (Tony Hillerman)
Rock with Wings #20 (#1 Anne Hillerman)
Song of the Lion (#3 Anne Hillerman)