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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman

Book #2 in the Leaphorn Series.

From Two Native-American boys have vanished into thin air, leaving a pool of blood behind them. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police has no choice but to suspect the very worst, since the blood that stains the parched New Mexican ground once flowed through the veins of one of the missing, a young Zuñi. But his investigation into a terrible crime is being complicated by an important archaeological dig . . . and a steel hypodermic needle. And the unique laws and sacred religious rites of the Zuñi people are throwing impassable roadblocks in Leaphorn's already twisted path, enabling a craven murderer to elude justice or, worse still, to kill again.

Yes, another series I have started out of order, though not quite so much so as Davenport.  At least this was only #2. 

This was a refreshing break from Sandford, and even from William Kent Krueger (whom I'm still irritated with).  Lt. Joe Leaphorn is a methodical detective, not letting the intrusion of the FBI or Zuni police unduly ruffle his feathers .  He only wants to find the missing boy and sets about doggedly to do so.  We don't know ahead of time what the criminals actions are, we don't know the antagonists actions, we don't know any more than Leaphorn does.  In fact, Leaphorn figures out the mystery well before the reader (unless you are the kind to figure it out very quickly) and it's only at the very end you are clued in on the 'who done it'. 

I also loved the imagry of the Southwest and the glimpse into native life.  Sandford and Krueger both write settings based in Minnesota, Kruger not infrequently touching upon the Objibwe.  To read a book set in the arid southwest and with two different tribes was really quite facinating. 

I cannot say more than that, because I would be giving something away.  If you are a handful of people like myself who has not yet read Hillerman, I suggest you do so.

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