Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Rock With Wings,' A Mystery by Anne Hillerman.
In Rock With Wings by Anne Hillerman, Jim Chee and his wife Bernadette Manuelito are finally able to put work behind them, to get away from their police work and help a relative get his business on its feet. Part of the Navajo Tribal police they are ready for some down time. But their vacation is slated to be very short as each is called back in on a different case.
Chee follows the case of a missing woman from a movie location, and is still able to help his family friend. Yet once he thinks his case is complete it only becomes more cryptic. He is relieved to find the missing woman in good health until he stumbles across a gravesite very close to where she is taking pictures. Now since she is a part of the group making a zombie movie, he is unsure if it is a prop or the real thing. His search brings him up against another mystery needing to be solved.
His wife Bernadette has her hands full dealing with a drug bust and trying to decipher the mystery of a fire in the middle of nowhere, as she also begins to look into a solar energy company that is trying to develop on Navajo land. Nothing makes sense as she follows the clues.
Hillerman continues to bring us the goods with her trio of investigators for even as Chee and Manuelito move in differing directions they still call in their mentor Leaphorn for advice. Her characters are intense and captivating. The separation of her heroes seems to create doubt and insecurity about their relationship, although each is certainly sure of their own feelings, just not as sure of that of their partner. That adds its own sense of feeling in a strained atmosphere of crime that creates a tenseness in the individual situations.
Having two separate crimes being investigated individually with the input of their mentor, you are drawn between the differences of investigation, but also into how family plays a part in the Navajo Nation and in everything thing they do. The emotions are well written, and with the separation of the crimes and the differing mysteries at play it is difficult to find a good place to stop and put the book down for later.
If you enjoy romance, mystery, Native American lore, and family you will find this book is what you are looking for. Hillerman gives us just enough of each to keep us both intrigued and entertained.
This would be a great book for your library, or for that of a reading and discussion group. The familial ties as well as the lengths people go to follow their dream will create a great deal of fodder for discussion.