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.)
"[L]yrical....[T]here's real poignancy in Leaphorn's efforts to track down an antique rug woven to commemorate 'all the dying, humiliation and misery' on the Navajo nation's 'Long Walk' home from an Army concentration camp in the 1860s." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"[I]t's great to see Tony Hiller man return to top form....The book is filled with fascinating Indian lore and the plot gallops to its satisfying conclusion. Hillerman makes his characters as real as ever..." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"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
"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
"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
Legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is back in this latest tale of murder and mystery from a New York Times bestselling author. 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. Available in a tall Premium Edition.
Retirement has never sat well with former Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn. Now the ghosts of a still-unsolved case are returning to haunt him, reawakened by a photograph in a magazine spread of a one-of-a-kind Navajo rug, a priceless work of woven art that was supposedly destroyed in a suspicious fire many years earlier. The rug, commemorating one of the darkest and most terrible chapters in American history, was always said to be cursed, and now the friend who brought it to Leaphorn's attention has mysteriously gone missing.
With newly wedded officers Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito just back from their honeymoon, the legendary ex-lawman is on his own to pick up the threads of a crime he'd once thought impossible to untangle. And they're leading him back into a world of lethal greed, shifting truths, and changing faces, where a cold-blooded killer still resides.
About the Author
Tony Hillerman was a former president of the Mystery Writers of America and received its Edgar and Grand Master Awards. His other honors included the Los Angeles Times' Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, the Center for the American Indian's Ambassador Award, the Silver Spur Award for the best novel set in the West, and the Navajo Tribe's Special Friend Award. He passed away on Sunday, October 26, 2008.