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When tribal police officer Bernadette Manuelito arrives to speak at an outdoor character-building program for at-risk teens, she discovers chaos. Annie, a young participant on a solo experience due back hours before, has just returned and is traumatized. Gently questioning the girl, Bernie learns that Annie stumbled upon a human skeleton on her trek. While everyone is relieved that Annie is back, they're concerned about a beloved instructor who went out into the wilds of the rugged lava wilderness bordering Ramah Navajo Reservation to find the missing girl. The instructor vanished somewhere in the volcanic landscape known as El Malpais. In Navajo lore, the lava caves and tubes are believed to be the solidified blood of a terrible monster killed by superhuman twin warriors.
Solving the twin mysteries will expose Bernie to the chilling face of human evil. The instructor's disappearance mirrors a long-ago search that may be connected to a case in which the legendary Joe Leaphorn played a crucial role. But before Bernie can find the truth, an unexpected blizzard, a suspicious accidental drowning, and the arrival of a new FBI agent complicate the investigation.
While Bernie searches for answers in her case, her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, juggles trouble closer to home. A vengeful man he sent to prison for domestic violence is back - and involved with Bernie's sister, Darleen. Their relationship creates a dilemma that puts Chee in uncomfortable emotional territory that challenges him as family man, a police officer, and a onetime medicine man in training.
Anne Hillerman takes us deep into the heart of the deserts, mountains, and forests of New Mexico and once again explores the lore and rituals of Navajo culture in this gripping entry in her atmospheric crime series.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jean on 06-17-18
A Fun Trip to the Southwest
I was a big fan of Tony Hillerman’s books. When his daughter Anne, started writing, I began following her. She has big shoes to fill as Tony was a master storyteller. Anne has improved with each book which makes it fun to watch a writer grow. In this book Jim Chee is in Santa Fe at a training conference. Bernie Manuelito covers for a fellow officer to give a talk to a group of children on a camping trip. One of their leaders goes missing and Bernie is in for lots of work, danger and solving a mystery.
Hillerman does a great job in describing the scenery and Navaho customs and spiritual beliefs. To me, this makes the story much more enjoyable. The book is well written and the plot twists and weaves about. The suspense builds but there is also some humor tossed into the story. I cannot wait for the next book.
The book is a little over ten hours. Christina Delaine does an excellent job narrating the story. Delaine is an actress. She has won multiple Earphone Awards for her audiobook narrations.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By mouselicious on 05-30-18
Delighted and Greatfull this series is thriving!
All I can say is AWESOME job, Anne! You kept the magic alive & thriving! Great storyline, educates, entertains and entrances. lovely epilogue to tie up the loose ends except why Mayfair put the datura in the cookies? I'm ready for the next in series!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful