Wednesday, December 20, 2006

[Book Review] THE SHAPE SHIFTER by Tony Hillerman


Alice Kendall reviews THE SHAPE SHIFTER by Tony Hillerman (Harper Collins, 2006)

Joe Leaphorn, retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, has no worries about how to spend his time. Given his years of solving crimes and his contacts in and out of law enforcement, people just naturally turn to him when they think something is not as it should be. Mel Bork, an old acquaintance who used to work with the FBI, contacts him about an old Navajo blanket that was supposed to have burned in a fire. The fire was memorable because the body of one of the FBI’s “most wanted” was found in the ashes. Now, the blanket is apparently part of a private collection and Mel Bork is missing. Enlisting Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito, who are (finally) married and back from their honeymoon, to do some research for him, Joe does the leg work to see if he can solve the mystery of the reappearing blanket and the missing investigator.

Tony Hillerman’s numerous awards include the Center for American Indian’s Ambassador Award and the Navajo Tribe’s Special Friend Award. One of the joys of reading his books is his understanding and portrayal of the Navajo beliefs. In The Shape Shifter we learn about people who can change in order to avoid pursuit or take advantage of the innocent. Joe knows he’s after a shape shifter, the questions are “What was he before?” and “Who is he now?” Starting this book at the end of the story just adds a little more mystery to an enjoyable read. It also puts the reader in the same position as Jim and Bernie; wondering what is going on. In the end, we are left with a deeply satisfying “Ahhhh” when all is revealed.

Alice Kendall, Parkway Village

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?