Tribal divisions cause tensions that result in a car bomb—or is the motive something closer to home?
The world around Navajo Police Officer Bernadette Manuelito is literally rocked while she watches the annual alumni basketball game at local Shiprock High School, and it isn’t because of the talent on the court. When Bernie goes to the parking lot to inspect the apparent sonic boom, she finds that a car has exploded, presumably the result of an improvised device. Though she’s been attending the game while off duty, Bernie kicks into work mode and tries to keep attendees safe while simultaneously investigating. When things settle down and she’s able to return home to her husband, fellow officer Jim Chee, he’s the one who has to work the case. The car’s owner is Aza Palmer, a mediator working on some tensions between the Hopi and Diné tribes out in Tuba City, and Chee serves as an informal bodyguard to Palmer in the midst of the tense talks. Chee can’t wait for the assignment to end because Palmer’s in no mood to be guarded despite being otherwise friendly, and both Chee and Bernie know things will go back to normal once they crack this case. The secret may lie in the failing memory of former Lt. Joe Leaphorn, friend and mentor to both Chee and Bernie and a character whose link to the past could break the case open.
The latest from Hillerman (Rock with Wings, 2015, etc.) continues worldbuilding in a tale that will reward long-term readers.