Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rock with Wings by Anne Hillerman

Anne Hillerman has a gift for descriptive writing about the Southwest. She may have inherited her father's characters, Leaphorn and Chee, but she took that inheritance and made it her own. She puts her own spin on the descriptions, the characters, and the crimes. Then, she turns Rock with Wings into "A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel."

Sergeant Jim Chee and his wife, Officer Bernie Manuelito, finally have the chance to take a vacation together, and Chee is taking her to see Monument Valley while helping a cousin get his tourism business off the ground. But, it doesn't work out quite as they intended. Bernie's sister disappears, leaving her Mama alone, so she heads home while Chee agrees to help the local police who are shorthanded.

When a woman disappears, part of a film crew filming in Monument Valley, Chee is asked to look for her. She's found, enjoying the scenery as much as he does, but the two stumble upon a newly dug grave. And, that grave, illegal on Navajo land, just digs Chee in further with the local police and the film team. It isn't long before he's not only investigating the grave, but looking for a missing girl. And, once he finds a body in a hotel room, it becomes an FBI matter.

Back in Shiprock, Bernie is involved with the FBI, too. Just before vacation, she stopped a driver while working a drug intercept operation. Although she knew something was wrong with him, the FBI wouldn't clue her in. So she kept digging. And, that man seemed to be all over the area, involved with a plan for solar development, and even an unexplained car fire. Eventually, both Chee and Bernie turn to their former boss, Leaphorn, for assistance.

Hillerman skillfully combines the movie business, the solar power industry, and Navajo tradition and life into an intriguing story. The ending may be a slight letdown, but there's still a hint of mystery left.   Rock with Wings is a solid police procedural as both officers follow their cases, step by step, no matter where they go. The author's strength lies in her ability to beautifully describe the Navajo land, and allow the reader to see it through the eyes of two people who love it, Chee and Bernie. Don't expect Tony Hillerman's writing when you read this novel. Anne Hillerman has made the characters and the landscape her own in Rock with Wings.

Anne Hillerman's website is www.annehillerman.com

Rock with Wings by Anne Hillerman. HarperCollins. 2015. ISBN 9780062270511 (hardcover), 322p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


12 comments:

Kay said...

My mystery group is reading and discussing the first book in her series for July. I'm very happy that #2 is out and if members are pleased with #1, they can continue. I loved Tony Hillerman's books and so I'm a little apprehensive myself about continuing with Leaphorn and Chee, but I'll give it a shot.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I thought she was clever in the first book to concentrate as much on Bernie as she did. It gave the book a separate identity from her father's books, I thought.

Jeff M.

Lesa said...

Jeffrey is right, Kay. She did make this series her own by concentrating on Bernie. I think you'll be happy with the first book, even if you were a Leaphorn and Chee fan.

Lesa said...

I agree, Jeffrey. And, that's what I told readers when I reviewed the first one. She did make it her own.

CindyD said...

Just finished the book and I have to disagree about the ending. She did not pull all the threads together satisfactorily for me so it was more than a slight letdown.

Karen Reittinger said...

Hmm...just started Rock With Wings. We'll see. :)

ceblain said...

This book sounds really different and interesting. I had not heard about it, so thank you for the introduction to it and the synopsis as well.

Cynthia

Lesa said...

I do agree, Cindy, that the threads didn't come together as they should have. Loved her descriptions, and that's what she does best. You're right, though.

Lesa said...

Yes, we'll see what you think, Karen.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Cynthia.

Gordon said...

I just finished reading it. She captures her dad's mood perfectly. I hope she never stops writing these.

Lesa said...

I hope she keeps writing them, too, Gordon!