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    THE WAILING WIND by Tony Hillerman

    HarperCollins, 2002

    When Officer Bernadette Manuelito of the Navajo police finds a truck with a body in it, she suspects natural causes--and ends up in big trouble with the FBI. Her boss Sergeant Jim Chee and his friend retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn decide to investigate, especially since the case seems related to an old 'closed' case that never felt right to Leaphorn. In a powerful mixture of native American culture and modern police work, all three track down evidence of an old gold mine, a wailing woman, and confidence man tricks.

    Author Tony Hillerman (see more reviews of novels by Hillerman) is at his best when writing about Leaphorn and Chee. Both men are memorable characters, trying to find balance in their lives, dealing with difficult relatives, difficult FBI agents, and the difficult blend of cultures that represents the culture that they live in and love.

    As always, the bleak desert landscapes of the southwestern Navajo Indian Reservation forms both a backdrop and a virtual character in this story. Without an understanding of the country, nature, and man's relationship with nature, Chee, Bernadette, and Leaphorn cannot hope to solve the mystery--but with them, they run the risk of being dismissed by the FBI or falling into a trap set by a ruthless killer.

    This may not be the best Tony Hillerman book out (my personal favorite was COYOTE WAITS) but even pretty good Hillerman is excellent.

    Four Stars

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