Joe,Jim, and now Bernie...Who could ask for more. It is unfortunate that there will be no more as alas, Tony has passed away. The last book is just as wonderful as all the others, and solving a mystery from the past brings us a nostalgic journey into familiar excerpts from previous stories, appropriate I think for his last work. I for one will miss him.
If you're looking for more great Tony Hillerman, this book is one for you. Hillerman's main protagonist (Joe Leaphorn) is back from retirement and researching supernatural occurings that seem to happen around an antique Navajo rug.
Becca A. reviewed The Shape Shifter (Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee, Bk 18) on
Helpful Score: 1
I have followed the Legendary Lieutenant throughout his "career" and so was really looking forward to this book of his supposed retirement (though we know that's impossible.) I enjoyed the usual atmospheric stuff and the Navajo cultural things, but found the character of Joe Leaphorn implausible for the first time. He has been a straight arrow his whole life and career. To be a month into retirement and bending rules did not sit well with me nor make for a believable story. Read it, certainly. But it's not a sequel that made logical sense to me.
I have read all the Tony Hillerman books published prior to this one, and must say there's a law of diminishing returns at work here. I loved his books when I first started reading them, and after the first ten or so I still really liked them, but I only just barely liked the last two. He seems to have run out of things to say, and spends more and more time going on about Navajo spirituality, and less and less time giving his readers an entetaining read with an interesting plot. In this one, I had the mystery solved in the first half of the book, but had to plod through the rest of it just to see how he was going to work it out. Won't spoil the ending for you by going into detail, but Joe Leaphorn's actions toward the end of the book were uncharacteristic. Hillerman mentions often that Leaphorn is retired, and often just tired. I felt like the author's personal feelings were bleeding through into his main character. Looking at his picture on the back cover reminded me that Tiony Hillerman is a WW2 veteran, and has a right to be a little tired himself - and his prose is startinjg to show it.
I do not have the hardcopy. Mine is the paperback. The main character is Joe Leaphorn. If you are a Jim Chee fan, his character is not in this book very much. It was a good story, a great deal of Indian history, which I found very interesting. Detective Joe can't seem to fully retire and this adventure could have ended his career forever. A quick read.
Since his retirement from the Navajo Tribal Police, Joe Leaphorn has occasionally been enticed to return to work by former colleagues who seek his help when they need to solve a particularly puzzling crime. They ask because Leaphorn, aided by officers Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito, always delivers. But this time the problem is with an old case of Joe's - his "last case," unsolved, is one that continues to haunt him. And with Chee and Bernie just back from their honeymoon, Leaphorn is pretty much on his own.
The original case involved a priceless, one-of-a-kind Navajo rug supposedly destroyed in a fire. Suddenly, what looks like the same rug turns up in a magazine spread. And the man who brings the photo to Leaphorn's attention has gone missing. Leaphorn must pick up the threads of a crime he'd thought impossible to untangle. Not only has the passage of time obscured the details, but it also appears that there's a murderer still on the loose.