“For the many enthusiastic fans of Tony Hillerman’s previous mystery novels . . . only one thing needs to be said: Talking God is the best one yet!” — USA Today
From New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman, Talking God is the ninth novel featuring beloved characters Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Office Jim Chee
Reunited by a grave robber and a corpse, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is trying to determine the identity of a murder victim, while Officer Jim Chee is arresting Smithsonian conservator Henry Highhawk for ransacking the sacred bones of his ancestors.
But with each peeled-back layer, it becomes shockingly clear that these two cases are mysteriously connected—and that others are pursuing Highhawk, with lethal intentions. And the search for answers to a deadly puzzle is pulling Leaphorn and Chee into the perilous arena of superstition, ancient ceremony, and living gods.
Hillerman's latest is not quite up to his best standards, but it's still a wonderfully readable, involving mystery. Here he sets Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee in Washington, D.C., as each uses vacation time to follow separate cases that will connect in a clash of violence at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. Chee has come at the request of Janet Pete, a Navajo lawyer with a case that involves a ceremonial mask of Yeibichai, or Talking God, maternal grandfather of all the other Navajo gods, and a museum curator named Henry Highhawk, who claims Navajo ancestry and wants to be included on tribal rolls. Leaphorn's interest rises from a puzzling homicide case--an unidentified corpse found near Gallup, N.M., with a note mentioning a pending Yeibichai ceremony. Just as Leaphorn's tenacity reveals the dead man was a leftist Chilean terrorist, Highhawk is killed (in a spooky late-night scene in the Museum) and the pivotal role of the Talking God mask comes into play. Leaphorn's grief over the recent death of his wife, Chee's sorrow at the end of an impossible love affair, both men's sense of alienation in the capital city's urban sophistication suffuse this slim, somewhat contrived, tale with palpable melancholy. 150,000 copy first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; Mysterious Book Club dual main selection; BOMC and QPBC alternates; author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
One of Hillerman's best
Tony Hillerman gives his reliable series even more freshness and vitality by transporting Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn to Washington, D.C., albeit by different routes. This novel is engaging, suspenseful, funny, tender, human and, as always, uniquely interesting. A great example of a master storyteller reaching new heights in his work.