The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

sinisterReviewed by Jud Hanson

The peaceful atmosphere of the “Four Corners” area of Sgt. Jim Chee’s jurisdiction is sh attered when an unidentified body shows up on the edge of the Jicarilla Natural Gas Field. Called a “hunting accident” by the FBI, Chee believes it may not have been and enlists the help of retired Lt. Joe Leaphorn in his quest for the truth. Another variable is the current scandal in the Capital over the possible swindling of millions in gas royalties from the Interior Department’s Native American Trust Fund. Could the John Doe have been investigating this scandal and trying to get to the bottom of it? The key to solving this murder could rest in the hands of Border Patrol Agent Bernadette Manuelito, who has stumbled onto peculiar activities taking place at a local ranch and may be in over her head.

No author can portray the West as well as Tony Hillerman. As the recipient of numerous awards, including the Silver Spur for Best Novel set in the West, Hillerman is in a class by himself. I have been a long time fan of his Jim Chee-Joe Leaphorn novels and lament the fact that he is no longer with us to continue the series. I have always found his books strikingly realistic and engaging with his unique way of blending a traditional murder mystery with the customs and traditions of the Navajo Indians. I heartily give this novel two thumbs up and consider it recommended reading for any book lover.

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