Monday, October 17, 2016
Review of "Rock With Wings"s by Anne Hillerman
Anne Hillerman is following in her father - Tony Hillerman's - footsteps, carrying on with his Navaho Tribal Police series. This is the second book Anne Hillerman has written for the long series.
As the story opens Navaho Tribal Police Officers Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito, recently married, are taking a vacation in Monument Valley when fate steps in. Jim ends up helping a relative in Monument Valley while temporarily working security for a movie company. And Bernie returns to their home in Shiprock for an urgent situation involving her mom and sister.
While in Shiprock Bernie decides to resume her police duties. She had previously arrested a suspiciously nervous young man for attempted bribery during a traffic stop and she wants to find out what he was hiding. Bernie is dismayed to learn that there were no drugs in his car and that the FBI wants the tribal police to back off. Bernie can't let it go, however, and continues to investigate the fellow.
Meanwhile Jim finds a suspicious 'grave' in Monument Valley, which he suspects is a publicity stunt arranged by the movie company to advertise their zombie film. The movie company honchos deny knowing anything about the grave but Jim continues to inquire into the matter. Before long an employee of the movie company is murdered in a hotel suite and Jim investigates the crime.
As Bernie and Jim pursue their separate inquiries each meets up with various suspicious characters that need looking into. They both turn to their mentor - 'The Legendary Lieutenant' Joe Leaphorn - for assistance. This is difficult because Joe is recovering from a bullet to the head and can't speak - but he's able to use a computer to assist his mentees.
I liked the setting of the book, in the beautiful mountains of the American Southwest, and enjoyed the tidbits of Navaho culture sprinkled through the story. The dual plots, however, were confused and less than compelling. By the end of the book the crimes that Bernie and Jim were investigating didn't ring true and I didn't really care who did what. There was an interesting array of characters, though, from Bernie's loving mom and alcoholic young sister to sleazy movie makers to Navaho elders who cherish the land.
For me this was just a so-so book but I might try another Anne Hillerman book in the future.