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Skinwalkers (1986)

by Tony Hillerman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Leaphorn/Chee (7)

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2,008378,107 (3.8)99
Fiction. Literature. Mystery. Three shotgun blasts rip through the side of Officer Jim Chee's trailer as the Navajo Tribal Policeman sleeps. He survives, but the inexplicable attack has raised disturbing questions about a lawman once beyond reproach. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn wonders why Chee was a target and what connection the assault has to a series of gruesome murders that has been plaguing the reservation. But the investigation is leading them both into a nightmare of ritual, witchcraft, and blood . . . and into the dark and mystical domain of evil beings of Navajo legend, the "skinwalkers.".… (more)
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English (34)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Those looking for a great mystery series who have yet to discover Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are in for a treat with Skinwalkers. Tony Hillerman created an entire genre with these novels. Though they've been copied, no one has ever quite blended Native American beliefs and traditions, with modern day mystery in the same entertaining way at which Hillerman was so skilled.

Skinwalkers is one of Hillerman's finest pairings of young Navajo Tribal Police Officer, Jim Chee, and the legendary Lt. Joe Leaphorn. This one begins when a shotgun blast into Jim Chee's trailer has both Chee and Leaphorn trying to figure out how the attempt on Chee's life ties together with two murders in the sprawling Indian territory over which they have jurisdiction.

The seasoned Leaphorn begins to have respect for young Chee as they work on different ends to solve this mystery. Leaphorn has his own personal problems to deal with as well in this entry; his beloved wife may have the onset of Alzheimer's disease. It is a distraction he can't afford once the danger begins escalating.

Sprinkled throughout this complex and entertaining mystery novel are insights into the Navajo people, from the way they speak, to their customs and broad family ties. But the thread that may tie everything together is something the older Leaphorn despises, and the younger Chee embraces. That aspect of the investigation is the complex mythology of Navajo witchcraft. You see, the killings may involve something very ancient in the Navajo culture, called a Skinwalker.

This is simply a great read, full of description of the Four Corners landscape, which is interwoven with the traditions of the Navajo. The story itself begins at a languid pace, but gradually takes on urgency as the body count starts to rise. The good police work of Leaphorn and Chee may not be enough to save either of them this time out.

Chee's growing recognition among his people as a Hataalli (Medicine Man) who can perform the Blessing Way will play an integral part in this excellent entry in the Leaphorn/Chee canon. Widely regarded by fans of the series and critics alike as one of the best entries in the series, Skinwalkers is like an orange soda on a hot day in the New Mexico desert; it's incredibly refreshing, and really hits the spot. ( )
  Matt_Ransom | Oct 6, 2023 |
Skinwalkers is a good murder mystery. From the beginning of the book the storyline is set and continued throughout. Because the descriptions of the characters and the scenery is so complete, one can follow the story in one's mind perfectly. Of course, there are good guys and bad. Four stars were given to this book in this review. ( )
  lbswiener | Aug 13, 2023 |
Exciting entry in Hillerman's Navajo Mystery series. (#7).. 'Skinwalkers' (witches, Navajo witchcraft) is part of the theme here and the story revolves around it. Navajo police officers, Leaphorn and Chee use it to solve a crime. I look foward to the next in the series. ( )
  buffalogr | Aug 13, 2023 |
Simply awesome. ( )
  bxwretlind | Dec 10, 2021 |
Skinwalkers was a slow moving book. It was not a fun book to read. The characters are better developed in his daughter, Anne Hillerman's books. ( )
  lbswiener | Jun 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tony Hillermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fröba, KlausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
We Navajo understand Coyote is always waiting out there, just out of sight. And Coyote is always hungry.
--Alex Etcitty, born to the Water Is Close People
Dedication
This book is dedicated to Katy Goodwin, Ursula Wilson, Faye Bia Knoki, Bill Gloyd, Annie Kahn, Robert Bergman, and George Bock, and all the Medicine People, Navajo and belagana, who care for The People - and about them. My thanks to Dr. Albert Rizzoli for his kindness and his help, and a tip of my hat to the good work of the too often unappreciated Indian Health Service.
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When the cat came through the little trapdoor at the bottom of the screen it made a clack-clack sound.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. Mystery. Three shotgun blasts rip through the side of Officer Jim Chee's trailer as the Navajo Tribal Policeman sleeps. He survives, but the inexplicable attack has raised disturbing questions about a lawman once beyond reproach. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn wonders why Chee was a target and what connection the assault has to a series of gruesome murders that has been plaguing the reservation. But the investigation is leading them both into a nightmare of ritual, witchcraft, and blood . . . and into the dark and mystical domain of evil beings of Navajo legend, the "skinwalkers.".

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