HUNTING BADGER by Tony Hillerman


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On May 4, 1998, a Colorado police officer was shot and killed when he pulled over a stolen water truck. One of the three thieves killed himself soon thereafter; the other two remain at large despite the FBI’s scorched-earth (and, Hillerman hints in a brief introduction, insensitive) search tactics. But what if Sgt. Jim Chee and retired Lt. Joe Leaphorn, of the Navajo Tribal Police, had been on the job? Hillerman (The First Eagle, 1998, etc.) here reimagines the crime as a Ute Casino holdup that leaves the security chief dead and one of his rent-a-cops, whom the police wrongheadedly assume to have been the inside man, wounded. Chee, back in Shiprock to investigate the theft of an ancient Cessna presumably used in the robbers’ high-country getaway, soon finds his path crisscrossing that of Leaphorn, called back into action still again by old rancher Roy Gershwin’s insistence that he can name the perps. Nosing around among his friends, acquaintances, former colleagues, and former adversaries, Leaphorn soon walks in on a suicide scene that confirms Gershwin’s confidence. But how can even a wily old veteran like Leaphorn track down the surviving thieves, especially the one dubbed —Badger— who’s reputed to be a witch? Pleasing lesser work from the doyen of the regional mystery—a master who, like his hero, keeps his best tricks till last.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-019289-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1999


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