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The Shape Shifter: A Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee Novel (Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee Novels)by Tony Hillerman
Synopses & Reviews
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.
New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman is at the top of his form in this atmospheric and riveting novel set amid the rugged beauty of his beloved Southwest.
"A picture cut from a glossy magazine, Luxury Living, draws retired Navajo tribal policeman Lt. Joe Leaphorn into a hunt for a soulless killer in bestseller Hillerman's enthralling 18th Leaphorn/Chee whodunit (after 2004's Skeleton Man). The picture's sender, Mel Bork, another cop retiree, wonders if the distinctive Navajo rug shown in the picture is the same one Leaphorn described to him long ago, a rug supposedly destroyed in a fire the two officers investigated that took the life of a person identified as among the FBI's most wanted. Bork's subsequent disappearance and murder herald the dangers awaiting Leaphorn from a most formidable enemy. As Leaphorn searches for evidence to confirm his suspicions, he enlists the aid of Sgt. Jim Chee and his bride, Bernadette Manuelito, just back from their honeymoon. Only Hillerman could so masterfully connect such disparate elements as an ancient cursed weaving, two stolen buckets of pion sap and the Vietnam War. The conclusion is sure to startle longtime fans of this acclaimed mystery series." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In Tony Hillerman's 'The Shape Shifter,' a lot is riding on a little mysterious carpet. Not any old welcome mat, but a precious Navajo taleteller rug, full of portents, interwoven with bits of bark and feathers. Supposed to have been burned in a fire years before, the priceless artifact turns up in the pages of an interiors magazine, shown on the wall of a rich man named Jason Delos. After it's spotted... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) by Joe Leaphorn, a retired Navajo policeman, and an old colleague of his (whose car almost immediately plunges down a canyon), the story ravels through an elaborate investigation of theft and murder. The gentle style of this laconic author and his even more laconic Leaphorn are immensely appealing, as are his insights into Navajo behavior, such as a reluctance to interrupt when anyone is speaking. Hillerman is unbeatable at the flat planes of realistic conversation. One of the most memorable characters is Tommy Vang, a curiously ambiguous, fine-boned man, whom Delos adopted as a child in Cambodia. He's subtly rendered as something between a sex-slave and servant, and Hillerman uses Vang's gradual recognition of his own situation to propel the story to an exciting conclusion. For readers bent on the whodunit aspect, the title offers a whopping clue, but 'The Shape Shifter' has more to offer than mystery. Philippa Stockley is author of the novels 'A Factory of Cunning' and 'The Edge of Pleasure.'" Reviewed by Philippa Stockley, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"The gentle style of this laconic author and his even more laconic Leaphorn are immensely appealing, as are his insights into Navajo behavior....The Shape Shifter has more to offer than mystery." The Washington Post Book World
"Hillerman's latest venture...is not his best, but it will still be enjoyed by his loyal fans....As always, Hillerman seamlessly weaves bits of Navajo lore and history into the narrative, the major strength of this entry in his long-lived series." Library Journal
"Not much mystery this time....But Hillerman's warmth is undiminished as he follows a dogged old cop who burns up gasoline by driving all over Arizona because he can't bear to sit at home." Kirkus Reviews
Legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is back in this latest tale of murder and mystery from New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman. With Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito on their honeymoon, Joe's left on his own to pick up the threads of a crime he thought impossible to solve.
About the Author
Tony Hillerman (1925-2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two childrens books, and nonfiction works. He had received every major honor for mystery fiction; awards ranging from the Navajo Tribal Council's commendation to France 's esteemed Grand prix de litterature policiere. Western Writers of America honored him with the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He served as president of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and was honored with that groups Edgar Award and as one of mystery fictions Grand Masters. In 2001, his memoir, Seldom Disappointed, won both the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best nonfiction.
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