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The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman
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The First Eagle (1998)

by Tony Hillerman

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Jim Chee is an eyewittness to the murder of his brother officer, or so he thinks. Retired Lt. Joe Leaphorn has been asked by a woman of influence to search for her missing niece. Inevitably, their trails will cross.
As always, I loved reading about these two men, their lives, the country and people who surround them. What surprised me though, was the transparency of this mystery. I don't remember being able to see through Hillerman's plots this easily ever before. ( )
  MrsLee | Jan 27, 2014 |
Story of Navajo cops searching for the killer of one of their own and a health specialist looking for Bubonic Plague and Hantavirus on the reservation. Characters were well developed and believable, enhancing the story. It's a good read and I finished it in a day. ( )
  buffalogr | Aug 11, 2013 |
The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman is the thirteenth of the Navajo Mystery series. Jim Chee is facing a mountain of overdue paperwork. At least he has an open and shut case with the beating death of a fellow Navajo police officer, having corned a Hopi poacher over the battered body. Except, Joe Leaphorn's work to find a missing plague biologist has led him to believe the beating death is anything but simple.

When trying to learn anything about an area, the most effective way is to ask the people who live there. Of course the information might get mixed up in local gossip and legend. And others might not want to share — especially if religious ceremonies are involved. This case involves both — the sighting of a skinwalker and Hopi kiva ceremonies.

For accused man, protecting the secrets of his kiva comes before his own freedom. Chee can't take his usual, careful time with the case as the Federal Government has gotten involved, deciding to make an example of this case. This brings in Chee's ex-girl friend to add to the mix.

The exploration of the differences and similarities between Hopi and Diné culture introduced here are re-explored in the penultimate book, Skeleton Man (review coming).

I listened to the audio performed by George Guidall ( )
  pussreboots | Jun 24, 2013 |
Jim Chee is sure he's arrested the right man for the murder of one of his officers, and Janet Pete as usual is on the opposite side as defense attorney. Add to that a return to the death penalty, and Chee's determination is even more significant, as it may lead to a result so against his principles.

Joe Leaphorn has been asked to find a young scientist who has disappeared in the same area where Chee's murder occurred. Of course, the retired lieutenant and the acting lieutenant will cross paths on their separate investigations.

Better than Fallen Man, but still a bit creaky. ( )
  ffortsa | Oct 4, 2012 |
In Hillerman's suspense novel, Navajo Tribal policeman Jim Chee and his mentor, Joe Leaphorn, discover a deadly killer stalking the reservation in the most chilling and beautifully crafted novel from the master of Southwestern suspense. In addition to its finely crafted wrought plot, this book offers a wealth of Tony Hillerman's signature gifts--glorious descriptions of the high desert, delicately drawn characters, and eloquent insights into the foibles and wisdom of the native peoples. ( )
  debbieaheaton | Dec 8, 2011 |
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Since I began my fictional relationship with the Navajo Tribal Police, six of its officers have been killed while performing their duty. A small force covering a vast expanse of mountains, canyons, and desert, they must work primarily alone. In case of danger help is often hours away even if their radio calls for backup are heard.
I dedicate this work to these six officers and their families. They gave their lives in defense of their people.
Burton Begay, Tuba City, 1975. Loren Whitehat, Tuba City, 1979. Andy Begay, Kayenta, 1987. Roy Lee Stanley, Kayenta, 1987. Hoskie Gene Jr., Kayenta, 1995. Samuel Redhouse, Crownpoint, 1996.
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The body of Anderson Nez lay under a sheet on the gurney, waiting.
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Book description
For acting chief Jim Chee, the murder of a Navajo Tribal Police Officer seems like an open-and-shut case when he discovers a Hopi poacher huddled over the victim's butchered corpse. However, Chee's newly retired predecessor, Joe Leaphorn, believes otherwise.

Hired to find a missing biologist who was searching for the key to a virulent hidden plague - and who vanished in the same area and on the same day the policeman was slain - Leaphorn suspects both events are somehow connected. And the reported sighting of a 'skinwalker' - a Navajo witch - has Leaphorn and Chee seeking answers to a deadly riddle in a dark place where superstition and science collide.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061097853, Mass Market Paperback)

It seems like July 8 is going to be a bad day for Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee. He's got a stack of overdue paperwork on his desk. Anderson Nez has died of plague, but the circumstances around the death are murky. His ex-fiancée, Janet Pete, is returning from Washington, D.C., and Chee doesn't know what to think about her last letter. (Will they be getting married this time?) And Officer Benny Kinsman's unwanted advances have enraged Catherine Pollard (among others), one of the scientists studying this newest outbreak of the black death. Now, the hot-headed Kinsman's gone off to nab a Hopi man who's poaching eagles. When Chee is called to back Kinsman up at Yells Back Butte, the bad day turns worse. He finds the young Hopi, Robert Jano, standing over Benny's mortally wounded body. Jano insists that he did not kill the police officer. Add to all this Joe Leaphorn's separate investigation, also involving July 8. Joe's got a new role as consulting detective to the wealthy--investigating the July 8 disappearance at Yells Back Butte of the same Catherine Pollard who was dogged by Kinsman.

This one bad day and the ensuing days of investigation bring Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee together once again as they uncover the secret of Yells Back Butte, plague fleas, and skinwalkers. As usual, Hilllerman's ear for dialogue is remarkable. One does not read Leaphorn and Chee's words and thoughts as much as hear them. While the book invites new readers (little knowledge of the previous books in the series is presumed), one has the sense of entering an old neighborhood where friends and relations are established and emotions run deep. Jim Chee's pain is vivid as he struggles under the shadow of Leaphorn and questions the "rusty trailer" lifestyle that has driven him apart from Janet. Nothing is contrived in his mixture of fear and elation when he and Janet meet again.

Hillerman has written an engaging novel that once again evokes the land and people of the Southwest while also confronting the cultural separateness of the region from the power centers of the East. Already honored for his previous work (Dance Hall of the Dead received the Edgar), The First Eagle is a welcome addition to the beloved Chee-Leaphorn series that began in 1971 with The Blessing Way. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:24 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Lt. Jim Chee investigates the case of a young Hopi eagle-poacher caught huddled over the body of a policeman who tried to arrest him. Chee's retired former boss, Joe Leaphorn, is trying to locate a biologist who vanished while hunting the source of a deadly outbreak of bubonic plague. By an odd coincidence, the biologist disappeared from the same place on the same day the policeman was killed… (more)

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