This mystery was one of the more exciting ones, with people getting shot at and some sweet justice. Even though Leaphorn is retired, he's still acting as a cop. This is the book that made me hate Janet Pete. She makes cracks about Jim Chee working as a policeman, she doesn't like it: "All you found were dry bones? How come Jim Chee is having such shit luck with women? Or, at least, he wasn't sure she was willing to marry Jim Chee as he currently existed - a just-plain cop and a genuine sheep-camp Navajo as opposed to a more romantic and politically correct Indigenous Person. When Chee is shot-up and in the hospital, Janet says: "I hope this being almost killed will cure you of being a policeman." o.O Wow. Fuck you, lady. She thinks it's perfectly fine for her to share cop information that Jim Chee tells her with the partners at the firm. *shaking my head* I can't believe she went through all that, got to know Jim Chee so well (she's known him for 3 some years) and then just isn't happy with the (good) man he is. Now. Is Jim Chee just a mensch and someone who is getting a free pass from me in this relationship? He had been thinking like a racist ever since he'd met Janet and fallen in love with her. Meanwhile, Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are... getting better at working together (I use this term loosely, Leaphorn is technically retired now) and trusting each other. Chee still doesn't feel comfortable around Leaphorn. In fact, he doesn't think he really likes Leaphorn. That thought surprised him. He didn't exactly like Leaphorn. The man was smarter than anybody Chee had ever met. Damn sure smarter than Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee. But this is the first novel in which they actually have a functioning work relationship - perhaps Leaphorn retiring helped this? "Bernie," Chee said, "If my ribs weren't so sore, and it wasn't going to get me charged with sexual harassment and cause us to run off the road, I would reach over there and give you a huge congratulatory hug." Bernie looked both pleased and embarrassed. But the reason we REALLY know that Chee likes her romantically is Chee became aware that he was showing off. First tries to shame Jim Chee. That doesn't work, Jim Chee (to my intense delight) stands up to the fucker. THEN, the fucker makes sexual comments about Bernie in front of Jim Chee. Tell her any old time she wants to work alongside of me, or under me either, she's more than welcome." Does Jim Chee call this man on this shit? But I'm still a little sore at Jim Chee for not calling this character out for disrespecting a woman in front of him. It's easy to act like a man and stand up when the woman is right in front of you, much harder to do when it's just you and another male with no woman in sight. While nothing seems to be happening romantically for Leaphorn (where did his girlfriend Louisa disappear to?), Chee's love life is exploding all over the place in various ways.
An old man is shot to death for no apparent reason. Using retired Leaphorn and Chee which has always been a good mix for me makes this a good read. The Fallen Man is replete with Hillerman trademarks--ingeniously intricate plotting, splendid evocations of the Southwest's harsh beauty, insights into a venerable culture, and subtly poignant characterizations. Tony Hillerman did have a local visit and we could ask questions to him about his works.
Somehow I'd never managed to read any of Hillerman's Leaphorn and Chee novels, but this fit a challenge so I picked it up.
This book has all of my favorite Navajo characters-- Chee, Leaphorn, Bernie, Largo.
At some point, after all the people raving about him, I told myself I needed to take a look at a Hillerman book, but it took me a long time to get around to it. It took me too long to finish only because I designated it 'waiting room reading' and kept setting it aside for various other reasons. I understand people who play it close to the vest, because I tend to be one; but I prefer more of a peek into characters' internal lives when I read a book.
It brings together some of his more notable characters introduced in prior books and continues to percolate their inter-personal drama plotted over multiple novels.
Hillerman, a consistently bestselling author, was ranked as New Mexico's 25th wealthiest man in 1996.