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People of Darkness (1980)

by Tony Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn/Chee (4)

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1,6423310,841 (3.81)81
Fiction. Mystery. A dying man is murdered. A rich man's wife agrees to pay three thousand dollars for the return of a stolen box of rocks. A series of odd, inexplicable events is haunting Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police and drawing him alone into the Bad Country of the merciless Southwest, where nothing good can survive...including Chee. Because an assassin waits for him there, protecting a thirty-year-old vision that greed has sired and blood has nourished. And only one man will walk away.… (more)
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English (32)  Spanish (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
This one is all Jim Chee's show. He is introduced as a young Navajo tribal police officer, with a chance to join the FBI. He grapples with the need to understand how white people think so that he can deal with them professionally, without short-changing his own heritage and traditions. When a woman contacts him for help in finding a box that was stolen from her home during her husband's absence he hesitates to take it on, but is drawn in when the husband himself calls to tell him there's been a misunderstanding, and the box is not important enough to warrant an investigation. The wife was ready to pay Chee handsomely to find it, and the husband offers him a smaller amount, basically to forget about it. In an apparent sub-plot, a hired killer is doing away with people who might know something about an oil rig explosion years ago, and Chee himself becomes a target when he tries to make a connection. Fast-paced, and engaging. As with The Blessing Way, it suffers a bit from "first appearance" weaknesses---we just don't know Chee well enough yet, and after getting familiar with Leaphorn in the first three books in this series, I was disappointed to be back to square one, so to speak. Nevertheless, I know now what Hillerman can do with a character, and I'm here for it. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Apr 25, 2024 |
Includes The Dark Wind and The Ghostway
  JeffBook | Mar 2, 2024 |
This is the fourth book in the Chee/Leaphorn stories, I’m filling in a few books I missed when reading the series. Jim Chee has an offer to join the FBI which he is considering, or to continue his studies to become a Hataalii, a tribal medicine man.

There is a backstory of an explosion at a well logging event that killed a number of people. Years later a bomb explodes in a pickup as a tow driver is hooking it up for towing, the target was a man already dying from cancer. Then someone steels a keepsake box from a rich man, B. J. Vines, leaving many valuables that are in sight. Chee’s first involvement was when Mrs. Vines asked Chee to recover the box.

The People of Darkness are involved, somehow. This is a religious sect that worships the mole. It is not recognized by most Navajo for its use of peyote.

During his investigation, he finds himself and a woman, Mary Landon, who finds herself wandering with Chee during his investigations, the target of an assassin.

The locals believe Mr. Vines is a witch, Chee must find a solution that satisfies the local cultures and the white men.

The book is excellent and rich in Navajo culture. ( )
  Nodosaurus | May 18, 2023 |
Jim Chee is a young Navajo, contemplating a law enforcement career with the FBI, when he's hired by a local woman to find an item taken during a burglary. And suddenly he faces pushback, evasions, and bullets.

I liked the characters in this mystery, and how the author skillfully interweaves Chee's heritage into the story. ( )
  fuzzi | Oct 30, 2021 |
Tony Hillerman writes great Native American based fiction. I believe I have read all his books.

FROM AMAZON: A dying man is murdered. A rich man's wife agrees to pay $3,000 for the return of a stolen box of rocks.

A series of odd, inexplicable events is haunting Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police and drawing him alone into the Bad Country of the merciless Southwest, where nothing good can survive...including Chee. Because an assassin waits for him there, protecting a 30-year-old vision that greed has sired and blood has nourished. And only one man will walk away. ( )
  Gmomaj | Oct 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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It was a job which required waiting for cultures to grow, for toxins to develop, for antibodies to form, for reagents to react.
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Fiction. Mystery. A dying man is murdered. A rich man's wife agrees to pay three thousand dollars for the return of a stolen box of rocks. A series of odd, inexplicable events is haunting Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police and drawing him alone into the Bad Country of the merciless Southwest, where nothing good can survive...including Chee. Because an assassin waits for him there, protecting a thirty-year-old vision that greed has sired and blood has nourished. And only one man will walk away.

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    DEATH VISION

The old Indian was already dead when someone tried to murder him. A box stolen from a rich man's house was filled only with rock - but that man's wife offered Sgt. Jim Chee $3,000 to get it back.

Out in the Bad Country under the Scorching Southwest sun, a lone assassin waits for Chee and his girlfriend to come looking for answers ... to come too close to the secret behind a thirty-year-old vision of death ... a secret fed by greed, and washed in blood.
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