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The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman
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I don't read all of Tony Hillerman's books but I read enough to know the main characters and understand their history. This book ties together Lieutenant Leaphorn (now retired but still in the know), Sergeant Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito who has left the Navajo Tribal Council to work for the Border Patrol. A murder in Sergeant Chee's area (taken over by the FBI who aren't divulging even the identity of the victim) ties into some work being done on a private ranch down by the Mexican border that Manuelito runs across. Chee and Manuelito care for each other but Chee would never say anything to her in the romantic vein. However when Manuelito is in danger Chee runs to her rescue and even a sinister pig can't stand in the way.

A very satisfying story. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 9, 2017 |
An interesting scenario, got us out of the Navajo Nation and into southern New Mexico, mostly Bernie, Chee, and Cowboy Dashee, with a little of Leaphorn. However, the plot was farfetched and was more so toward the end. Still, an engaging read.

I only have two more in the series. What will I do for this kind of popcorn reading when they're gone? ( )
  whymaggiemay | Aug 10, 2015 |
For Proust, flavors evoked memories. For me it's books. A place will evoke the book I was reading, and conversely, a book will take me back to the place where I was reading it.

The Navajo Mysteries, written first by Tony Hillerman, and now by Anne Hillerman, primarily take place within the bounds of the Navajo Nation. And although I've visited, I've never read a single one of the mysteries there. And yet, the books all evoke places to me — UCSB, Salinas, Pine Cove, and now Hayden Island.

Bear with me. Until recently, The Sinister Pig was the last the original series I hadn't read. Library and local bookshops didn't have a copy, and while I love the series, I just didn't feel the need to do a special order.

Our favorite hotel in Portland maintains two "take one, leave one" libraries. On our last summer trip there, I stopped a hard cover edition of The Sinister Pig. Bonus! I knew we'd be coming back in December on our trip to Canada, so I made it my goal to read it and return it then.

The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman is the 16th in the original series. Bernadette Manuelito has broken up with Jim Chee. She's now working off the Rez for the Border Patrol. She spots something unusual at a so-called exotic animal ranch that sets into motion a whole bunch of trouble. Meanwhile, a federal investigator has been murdered as he was in the middle of investigating something going on at the border.

Many of the books in this series are references to Diné stories but this time with the story only vaguely on the reservation, the title is instead a three way pun. There is the potentially corrupt cop (a sinister pig), there are the pigs that clean out pipes, and there are the pigs that get other pigs to do things, like the bellwether sheep. These three types of pigs related directly to the three mysteries of the book.

And it takes three characters to pool their resources to see the big picture. It takes Joe Leaphorn's understanding of how things were, Jim Chee's current investigational skills, and it takes Bearnette Manuelito's curiosity and out the box thinking to bring the clues together.

Now having read the other books in the series, and especially Spider Woman's Daughter, it was interesting to see Bernie and Jim figure out their feelings for each other. I knew how it was going to work out but I wasn't sure how they would get there. That was a fun bit of 20/20 hindsight.

And in case you're wondering, I did finish the book in time for the Canada trip. I dropped the book off on our way up and it was gone by the time we had returned just before New Year's. I picked up a copy of How Stella Got Her Groove Back which I plan to read and return the next time we're up that way in December. ( )
  pussreboots | Jun 10, 2015 |
Intriguing mystery but suffered from too many POV characters.
  ritaer | Dec 31, 2014 |
This novel starts off with Navajo Tribal Police sergeant Jim Chee finding a corpse in tribal lands near a natural gas field. The FBI is trying to take over the case, saying that it was a hunting accident. Joining Chee on the case is the familiar characters of Joe Leaphorn and Bernadette Manuelito. Conspiracies abound, and not surprisingly, the US government aren’t necessarily the good guys.

This is a solid novel, perhaps a little better than some other Hillerman novels I have read. The plot is logical, the writing professional. The downfall is that nothing really stands out about this novel. It’s not the sort of novel that you’ll remember long after you read it. It’s descent enough to pass the time and is a solid read, but not particularly memorable.

Carl Alves – author of Blood Street ( )
  Carl_Alves | Aug 18, 2014 |
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David Slate reached across the tiny table in Bistro Bis and handed an envelope to the graying man with the stiff burr haircut.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Sgt Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police, is troubled by the nameless corpse discovered just inside his jurisdiction, at the edge of the Jicarilla Apache natural gas field, More troubling still is the FBI's insistence that the Bureau take over the case, calling the unidentified  victim's death a "hunting accident."

But if a hunter was involved, Chee knows hte prey was intentionally human. this belief is shared by the "Legendary Lieutenant" Joe Leaphorn, who once again is pulled out of retirement by the possibilty of serious wrongs being committed against the Navajo nation by the Washington bureaucracy. 
Yet is is former policewoman Benradette Manuelito, recently relocated to Customs Patrol at the US-Mexico border, who possibly holds the key to a fiendishly twisted conspiracy of greed, lies, and murder - and whose only hope for survival now rests in the hands of friends too far away for comfort.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061098787, Mass Market Paperback)

Tony Hillerman is a national treasure, having achieved critical acclaim, chart-topping popularity, and a sterling reputation as an ambassador between whites and Indians. Fortunately, he's also still a marvelous writer, much imitated but never equaled. The Sinister Pig--his 16th novel to feature Navajo cops Joe Leaphorn and/or Jim Chee--isn't his best book, but it's still a pleasure from the first page to the last. Its plot is almost too complex to summarize, involving the mysterious shooting of an ex-CIA agent, financial shenanigans around oil-and-gas royalties, disappearing congressional interns, exotic pipeline technology, and the cross-border trade in both drugs and illegal aliens.

Officer Bernadette Manuelito has left the Navajo Tribal Police for the U.S. Customs Service, patrolling the barren borderlands of southern New Mexico. There, her curiosity and smarts land her in a growing peril that provides much of the book's suspense--and invokes the protective instincts of Sergeant Chee, who still hasn't quite been able to tell her how he feels about her. It's impossible not to care about Hillerman's exquisitely drawn repertory characters, nor to overlook the pleasures of his beautifully crafted and relaxed-seeming prose. In the midst of these virtues are a few warts: several sections are a little flat or awkward, and the villainous plutocrat behind it all is short on plausibility (though lots of fun to hate). But even a lesser Hillerman is still a richer, more satisfying read than most authors' top stuff. --Nicholas H. Allison

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:46 -0400)

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Navajo Tribal Police Sergeant Jim Chee investigates the murder of an ex-CIA agent that is tied to an exotic-game ranch near the Mexican border.

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