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Sun, Dec. 15

Book Review: Hillerman brings back Jim Chee, Joe Leaphorn in 'Rock with Wings'

"Rock with Wings" by Anne Hillerman

What a joy to open Hillerman's "Rock with Wings" and be back in the world of Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police, caught up in a mystery as it unfolds - and I do mean caught up, because this mystery, just as Anne Hillerman's first mystery, "Spider Woman's Daughter," will keep you turning pages until you get to its satisfying conclusion.

At least it did me. I kept finding excuses to put off anything that took me away from this book.

Like her famous father, Tony Hillerman, Anne is a gifted storyteller, and the world of Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn must be in her blood, the way she brings it all back to life. Off-the-chart sales of her first novel testify to this. Anne Hillerman contributes her own addition to that world as well, including Chee's wife, Bernadette Manuelito of the Tribal Police, as an equal protagonist, allowing Hillerman to weave a complex mystery that involves all three master mystery solvers.

What starts out to be a much-needed working vacation for Jim Chee and his wife Bernadette (Bernie) in Monument Valley, turns out to be anything but, with Bernie being called back home because her sister is in jail, and Jim stumbling into a mystery involving a movie company filming in the area. Bernie soon becomes involved in a mystery of her own, and it will take Joe Leaphorn to help them understand all the connections.

Along the way, their course is studded with jewels of Navajo culture, history, and mythology - to say nothing of glimpses of stunning vistas, such as the one in Monument Valley, where the rock formations look "ethereal, like enormous petrified creatures frozen in time on a landscape huge enough to accommodate them."

Not only can readers find this amazing mystery at the Peregrine Book Company, but are welcome to hear Anne Hillerman read and talk about mystery writing on Wednesday, May 13, at 6 p.m. Readers will be guaranteed a reserved seat and place in the signing line simply by purchasing the book - or can simply show up early to find a seat and their own place in the signing line.

Peregrine Book Company, 219-A N. Cortez St., is in downtown Prescott.

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