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The Barnes & Noble Review The great ones don't just give us stories and characters and plots and locales. The great ones give us worlds, fully imagined, fully detailed. Nero Wolfe's brownstone. Agatha Christie's English village. Raymond Chandler's Southern California. And now, Tony Hillerman's world of Navajo culture. The opening chapter of the new book is especially notew The Barnes & Noble Review The great ones don't just give us stories and characters and plots and locales. The great ones give us worlds, fully imagined, fully detailed. Nero Wolfe's brownstone. Agatha Christie's English village. Raymond Chandler's Southern California. And now, Tony Hillerman's world of Navajo culture. The opening chapter of the new book is especially noteworthy because it seems to belong in a Robin Cook or Michael Crichton medical thriller — a man is dying of what appears to be the plague known as the Black Death. Hillerman makes the hospital scene, with all its high-tech equipment, even more frightening by adding touches of dour humor. This is a Tony Hillerman novel, a couple of doctors (one a cutting-edge microbiologist) arguing over the wisdom of giving a possibly dangerous corpse an autopsy? Not to worry. We soon see Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, our friendly Navajo detectives (albeit, one of them no longer official), and we soon see the familiar daily hassles that make Hillerman's police procedurals so believable. Sexual harassment raises its ugly head. A police secretary gets peeved when she isn't let in on all the secrets. And Hillerman gets in his inevitable dig at Washington, D.C., politics as regards Native Americans: 'Kinsman's grandmother, who spoke only Navajo, had been relocated in Flagstaff where almost nobody speaks Navajo.' And again, Hillerman's wily, deadpan humor: 'By mid-afternoon the next day the Jeep was found. If you discount driving about 200 miles back and forth, and some of it over roads far too primitive even to be listed on Chee's AAAIndianCountry road map, the whole project proved to be remarkably easy.' The observational details in this new book are quiet but spectacularly realized, such as the unpretentious doctor: '[He] was looking at his black plastic digital [watch] which obviously hadn't been bought to impress the sort of people who are impressed by expensive watches.' Or Navajo wisdom: 'Always liked that about you guys. Four days of grief and mourning for the spirit, and then get on with life. How did we white folks get into this corpse worship business? It's just dead meat, and dangerous to boot.' Or the sly, wry Hillerman humor: 'About a month into his first semester at Arizona State, Leaphorn had overcome the tendency of young Navajos to think that all white people look alike.' Hillerman has a poet's way with the land. He rightly understands that his entire drama is being played out against a ragged and rugged land that is as much a participant in the drama as Chee and Leaphorn themselves. Without getting corny or patronizing, he's able to convey the Navajo reverence for the land and to differentiate how the white man and the Native American view the planet. He is also wise enough not to depict all white people as know-nothing boobs. Boobism is, alas, something shared by all cultures. There's plenty to go around. Hillerman stage-manages all the various plot points — the brain-dead cop, the missing woman, the possible plague, the violent eagle — skillfully and subtly. None of the seams show. And he does it all with a lively, easygoing style that never calls attention to itself, never jars the reader out of the world he's creating before our eyes. There's a simple reason for Tony Hillerman's popularity. He's one of the best mystery writers who ever lived. — Ed Gorman


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The Barnes & Noble Review The great ones don't just give us stories and characters and plots and locales. The great ones give us worlds, fully imagined, fully detailed. Nero Wolfe's brownstone. Agatha Christie's English village. Raymond Chandler's Southern California. And now, Tony Hillerman's world of Navajo culture. The opening chapter of the new book is especially notew The Barnes & Noble Review The great ones don't just give us stories and characters and plots and locales. The great ones give us worlds, fully imagined, fully detailed. Nero Wolfe's brownstone. Agatha Christie's English village. Raymond Chandler's Southern California. And now, Tony Hillerman's world of Navajo culture. The opening chapter of the new book is especially noteworthy because it seems to belong in a Robin Cook or Michael Crichton medical thriller — a man is dying of what appears to be the plague known as the Black Death. Hillerman makes the hospital scene, with all its high-tech equipment, even more frightening by adding touches of dour humor. This is a Tony Hillerman novel, a couple of doctors (one a cutting-edge microbiologist) arguing over the wisdom of giving a possibly dangerous corpse an autopsy? Not to worry. We soon see Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, our friendly Navajo detectives (albeit, one of them no longer official), and we soon see the familiar daily hassles that make Hillerman's police procedurals so believable. Sexual harassment raises its ugly head. A police secretary gets peeved when she isn't let in on all the secrets. And Hillerman gets in his inevitable dig at Washington, D.C., politics as regards Native Americans: 'Kinsman's grandmother, who spoke only Navajo, had been relocated in Flagstaff where almost nobody speaks Navajo.' And again, Hillerman's wily, deadpan humor: 'By mid-afternoon the next day the Jeep was found. If you discount driving about 200 miles back and forth, and some of it over roads far too primitive even to be listed on Chee's AAAIndianCountry road map, the whole project proved to be remarkably easy.' The observational details in this new book are quiet but spectacularly realized, such as the unpretentious doctor: '[He] was looking at his black plastic digital [watch] which obviously hadn't been bought to impress the sort of people who are impressed by expensive watches.' Or Navajo wisdom: 'Always liked that about you guys. Four days of grief and mourning for the spirit, and then get on with life. How did we white folks get into this corpse worship business? It's just dead meat, and dangerous to boot.' Or the sly, wry Hillerman humor: 'About a month into his first semester at Arizona State, Leaphorn had overcome the tendency of young Navajos to think that all white people look alike.' Hillerman has a poet's way with the land. He rightly understands that his entire drama is being played out against a ragged and rugged land that is as much a participant in the drama as Chee and Leaphorn themselves. Without getting corny or patronizing, he's able to convey the Navajo reverence for the land and to differentiate how the white man and the Native American view the planet. He is also wise enough not to depict all white people as know-nothing boobs. Boobism is, alas, something shared by all cultures. There's plenty to go around. Hillerman stage-manages all the various plot points — the brain-dead cop, the missing woman, the possible plague, the violent eagle — skillfully and subtly. None of the seams show. And he does it all with a lively, easygoing style that never calls attention to itself, never jars the reader out of the world he's creating before our eyes. There's a simple reason for Tony Hillerman's popularity. He's one of the best mystery writers who ever lived. — Ed Gorman

30 review for The First Eagle limited edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bobby Underwood

    In The First Eagle, Tony Hillerman once again crafted a fresh and involving entry in his fine series about the Navajo Tribal Police. In this one, the retired Leaphorn is still at loose ends after a tragic death close to home. Chee, meanwhile, has become acting Lieutenant, but is having misgivings over the possibility that it will become permanent. There is a tad less of the Navajo mysticism in this entry, but the vast territory covered by the Navajo Tribal Police is given its due as always. Hille In The First Eagle, Tony Hillerman once again crafted a fresh and involving entry in his fine series about the Navajo Tribal Police. In this one, the retired Leaphorn is still at loose ends after a tragic death close to home. Chee, meanwhile, has become acting Lieutenant, but is having misgivings over the possibility that it will become permanent. There is a tad less of the Navajo mysticism in this entry, but the vast territory covered by the Navajo Tribal Police is given its due as always. Hillerman dedicated The First Eagle to six officers who had given their lives in defense of their people from the time he wrote his first book until this one. It is only fitting that while keeping true to the Navajo atmosphere always present in the series, good police work and the very real dangers involved for the Tribal Police are brought to the forefront. Leaphorn is asked to look for the missing Catherine Pollard. His unofficial inquiry will intersect with Chee's investigation into an officer's death. Chee's case is seemingly wrapped up, but may be more complex than it first appeared. Chee is chagrined to discover he is still a little intimidated by Leaphorn, but as the two cases cross paths, they will peel back the veneer and move closer to understanding one another. This one has everything from poaching eagles to the possibility of the bubonic plague being spread all across the Navajo landscape. Why a pack of prairie dogs are unaffected, and an old Navajo woman who claims to have seen a skinwalker will figure greatly into the exciting conclusion to this one. The ending is also heartfelt for Chee, as his relationship with the pretty lawyer Janet begins to flame out, for she may be Navajo in name only after her time in Washington. While this entry in the series is a bit different, I highly recommend it. Another fine read in one of the truly great mystery series which has often been copied, but never equaled.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    "Always liked that about you guys," he said. "Four days of grief and mourning for the spirit, and then get on with life. How did we white folks get into this corpse worship business? It's just dead meat, and dangerous to boot." Surprisingly, this book is about The Plague. Some scientists on on the Rez testing prairie dog fleas for strains of The Plague. One of the researchers, a 30-year-old woman, goes missing. Leaphorn is hired as a private detective by the woman's elderly relative to find her. S "Always liked that about you guys," he said. "Four days of grief and mourning for the spirit, and then get on with life. How did we white folks get into this corpse worship business? It's just dead meat, and dangerous to boot." Surprisingly, this book is about The Plague. Some scientists on on the Rez testing prairie dog fleas for strains of The Plague. One of the researchers, a 30-year-old woman, goes missing. Leaphorn is hired as a private detective by the woman's elderly relative to find her. She's missing and feared dead. Chee is called in to assist an officer, Kinsman. I'm not sure what slur to call him, he's the kind of man who sexually harasses women, and gets in barfights with men. Not sure what you'd call that. A bully? Let's go with bully. Anyway, he's generally despised, even by Chee, and he's been sexually harassing Bernie, Chee's... um. The woman who has a crush on Chee. When Chee finds Kinsman, he's lying dead and bloody on the ground, an equally bloody Hopi standing over him. Kinsman has been brained with a rock. Chee, of course, immediately arrests the Hopi for murder - ignoring his protests that he didn't kill Kinsman, he just stumbled upon the body. Guess who's assigned to defend the Hopi? That's right. That F$&%ing @#$%* Janet Pete, whom Chee used to be in love with until she betrayed him in various ways and also made it clear she was unhappy about him and his life. Chee needs this woman to come back in his life the way he needs a bullet in his thigh. ARGH. I hate her. Okay. I have to calm down. In true Hillerman fashion, the two seemingly unrelated cases end up coming together. ... Jim Chee has a huge problem of letting go of failed relationships. He never makes a clean break with these women and always is vulnerable to them coming back into his life. He loves with his whole heart and is eternally, dopily optimistic. Janet Pete was leaving Washington and coming back to Indian country. Her letter was friendly but cool, with no hint of romantic passion. Still, Janet was coming back, and after he finished with Kinsman he planned to call her. It would be a tentative exploratory call. Were they still engaged? Did she want to resume their prickly relationship? Bridge the gap? Actually get married? For that matter, did he? Listen, honey, if you have to ask a woman if you two are still engaged, it means you're NOT. You haven't even seen her in a year. WTF? And he's still endlessly fantasizing that they'll work it out. When he'd exhausted all the dark corners that scenario offered, he turned to an alternative. Janet had come back to him. She'd be willing to live on the Big Rez, wife of a cop, living in what her friends would rate as slum housing, where high culture was a second-run movie. In that line of thought, love overcame all. But it wouldn't. She'd yearn for the life she'd given up. He would see it. They'd be miserable. Yeah. It's never going to happen, bub. Why don't you finally make a clean break with this traitorous less-than-a-woman? In the meantime, it's rather strange that Leaphorn has transformed himself into some kind of high-end, unlicensed private investigator. o.O And he and Chee are still not what I would call friends, exactly. Chee sighed. Fate seemed to be tying him to his former boss again, endlessly renewing the sense of inferiority Chee felt in the presence of the Legendary Lieutenant. Then we have Leaphorn's pseudo-relationship with Louisa. She was not mentioned (even casually) in the last book. It was like she'd dropped off the face of the earth. The reader was left wondering what in the hell happened. Now, she's popped up again, halfway through this book, and things are about as clear as mud. She and Leaphorn are still NOT sleeping together, which startled me. Due to the ending of the 11th book, I'd thought they had become a (sexually active) couple, but then of course she was completely absent from the 12th book. In this book, it's revealed that they are a.) not having sex and b.) she was married once before, a fact Leaphorn learns with great surprise. And I'm thinking to myself: Leaphorn sucks just as much as Chee does at relationships. Don't these people ever TALK to their lovers? Like "Hey, are we going to be exclusive?" or "Are we just friends? Or are we dating?" Or "Have you ever been married? Do you have any children? I've known you for three years now, just thought maybe I should know." Etc. etc. It's RIDICULOUS. It's seemed that Leaphorn has more or less determined (in his own mind) that he and Louisa have somehow decided - without speaking - that they are just going to be friends. Why was he feeling illogically happy? Because the tension was gone with Louisa. No more feeling that he was betraying Emma or himself. Or that Louisa was expecting more from him than he could possibly deliver. She'd made it clear. They were friends. CARMEN'S NOTE: She did not - in any way - make this clear. Not to mention that he's still constantly and actively mourning Emma, his deceased wife. The crisp, fresh sheets reminded him of Emma. Everything did. The morning breeze ruffled the curtains beside his head. Emma, too, always left their windows open to the outside air until Window Rock's bitter winter made it impractical. The curtains, too. He had teased her about that. "I didn't see curtains in your mother's hogan, Emma," he'd said. And she rewarded him with her tolerant smile and reminded him he'd moved her out of the hogan, and Navajos must remain in harmony with houses that needed curtains. That was one of the things he loved about her. One of the many. As numerous as the stars of a high country midnight. Perhaps Louisa doesn't want to become involved in a romantic relationship with a man who is still so deeply in love with his dead wife? We'll never know because Leaphorn and Louisa NEVER CHOOSE TO FLIPPIN' COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER. Sheesh. Jim Chee's not doing so well with Janet Pete's return into his life. Therefore he does something that takes huge balls. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I was very impressed. And when the chips are down, (view spoiler)[Janet betrays him once again. Professionally. (hide spoiler)] Jim Chee is not really surprised. His move, in addition to being ballsy, was a sort of test to see if he could still love and trust her. But the scales are finally falling from his eyes (I hope and pray this time for good) and he's really seeing (even though he should have figured it out way earlier) what kind of person Janet is. She said: "Damn you, Jim," and walked away. Chee finished his coffee, listened to her car starting up and rolling across the parking-lot gravel. He felt numb. She had loved him once, in her way. He knew he'd loved her. Probably he still did. He'd know more about that tomorrow when the pain began. I wish I could say this is the end of it, and he'll never foolishly start to want to date her again, but I know Jim Chee. He drags his dead relationships behind him for at least a year or two after they are over. He's a glutton for punishment. I have no idea what to do with him. Tl;dr - A rather strange mystery that involves The Plague. Am I the only one who finds this weird? Leaphorn and Chee continue to struggle to find romantic happiness with their respective women. Without much success. And they are still not really friends.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pop

    Another one of those great books about Leaphorn & Chee. I never tire of them for fast reads, mysterious doings and just learning of things I never thought of or ever pondered. This one has been on my want to read for ever. So glad I finally got around to reading it. My pledge for 2019 (hopefully) is to read those long ago put on my Want to Reads. Merry Christmas Y’all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fox

    There are many things to like about Tony Hillerman's Navajo Tribal Police mysteries, yet foremost (in my mind at least) is how he builds them on relationships. In this story, the relationship between Joe Leaphorn and Louisa Bourbonette continues to evolve. It finds a comfortable place in friendship. Also, the Jim Chee and Janet Pete relationship continues its brittle slide as Chee follows his concise to help a wrongly arrested man gain freedom. Then, there is the budding of a relationship with O There are many things to like about Tony Hillerman's Navajo Tribal Police mysteries, yet foremost (in my mind at least) is how he builds them on relationships. In this story, the relationship between Joe Leaphorn and Louisa Bourbonette continues to evolve. It finds a comfortable place in friendship. Also, the Jim Chee and Janet Pete relationship continues its brittle slide as Chee follows his concise to help a wrongly arrested man gain freedom. Then, there is the budding of a relationship with Officer Bernie Manuelito as Chee comes to accept the crush she has on him. And, finally, there is the evolving friendship between Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. All of these are carried forward in this story as the tapestry against which the mystery is woven.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Another great Chee and Leaphorn mystery. These age very well and I learn something about being human from each and every one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Whitney White

    Hillerman writes such good mysteries, and this is no exception. Even though they all have the same basic storyline when you boil it down, he never fails to surprise with a plot twist at the end that both catches you off-guard and explains everything (or almost everything). I also enjoy the bits of Navajo culture that he throws in each book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Putnam

    Very boring story. Better writing than average for Hillerman.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary Helene

    This really had everything I want in a mystery: decent writing, evocative setting, and reflections on relationships: ethical, romantic and fraternal. Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee and "Cowboy" all love each other; other characters support that love. It's worth taking to heart. The plot: a bit clunky, but only because it wasn't the point. The plot was adequate to carry the rest, and even clever. I've been thinking about the ending and it's satisfying. The author mentions two other books in passing, which This really had everything I want in a mystery: decent writing, evocative setting, and reflections on relationships: ethical, romantic and fraternal. Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee and "Cowboy" all love each other; other characters support that love. It's worth taking to heart. The plot: a bit clunky, but only because it wasn't the point. The plot was adequate to carry the rest, and even clever. I've been thinking about the ending and it's satisfying. The author mentions two other books in passing, which I found unusual. I took note of the second, Execution Eve by Bill Buchanan. (Can someone else find the first? and note it in the comments?) One more odd note: the elongated spacing on page 239 of the hard cover: "No, he'd do it if he had to." Made me wonder. Deliberate? Probably not, but effective, nonetheless. Final note: MAPS. Why can't his books have maps? I go crazy wanting one when reading his novels.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Callie

    I’m so sad 😭 Janet, why did you have to do this? I liked the reappearance of Louisa as a friend and partner for Leaphorn, too. If he is staying in the PI business I just may be able to handle it if Louisa is along for the ride.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    This book has all the classic elements of a Tony Hillerman book: cultural conflicts, personality clashes, professional cooperation and the beautiful scenery of the Southwest. In this book, Jim Chee himself finds the body of a fellow Navajo Tribal Police officer. Bending over the body and bloodied is a Hopi poacher. He has come to traditional Hopi land to capture an eagle for his tribal ritual, even though the land is currently part of the Navajo reservation. He had been arrested for the crime of This book has all the classic elements of a Tony Hillerman book: cultural conflicts, personality clashes, professional cooperation and the beautiful scenery of the Southwest. In this book, Jim Chee himself finds the body of a fellow Navajo Tribal Police officer. Bending over the body and bloodied is a Hopi poacher. He has come to traditional Hopi land to capture an eagle for his tribal ritual, even though the land is currently part of the Navajo reservation. He had been arrested for the crime of eagle poaching before by the same police officer, so the motive seems clear. Chee soon discovers the Hopi man will be represented by his former lover, Janet Pete. Meanwhile, Leaphorn is investigating the disappearance of a young woman investigator who is researching the plague outbreaks in the same part of the reservation. The dead officer had drunkenly assaulted her in a bar just before he was found dead. Had she killed him? Throughout the book, there is a lot of discussion about bacterial immunity to antibiotics and the threat of a rampaging virus similar to the influenza outbreak of 1918 which killed forty million people. This part of the book has a resonance for the reader in April 2020 that was not present when the book was first published in 1998. The book gets a bit confusing because there are three different male investigators as well as the missing female. It is up to Chee and Leaphorn to figure it out and the way they work together to find the truth is what makes these books so satisfying to read in these troubled times.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bob Deysach

    I read quite a few Tony Hillerman books in the past but this is the first I've read in the last decade. [I have very much enjoyed the Chee/Manuleto/Leaphorn tradition as carried on in the books by Hillerman's daughter, Anne.] The First Eagle was especially topical because it deals with a viral epidemic and search for a treatment. Of course, there are murders and other crimes encountered within this context. Particularly interesting is the "telling of the story" in that there are two converging i I read quite a few Tony Hillerman books in the past but this is the first I've read in the last decade. [I have very much enjoyed the Chee/Manuleto/Leaphorn tradition as carried on in the books by Hillerman's daughter, Anne.] The First Eagle was especially topical because it deals with a viral epidemic and search for a treatment. Of course, there are murders and other crimes encountered within this context. Particularly interesting is the "telling of the story" in that there are two converging investigations - one by Leaphorn and one by Chee. Although both revolve around elements of a plague, they are looking into different police matters. As the story unfolds, Chee and Leaphorn end up being drawn to some of the same places and interviewing separately the same people. In the course of their independent examination of the facts, they are like two blind men trying to discern composition of the elephant in front of them. Often the reader is privy to facts that each has learned but facts that are only partly unavailable to the other detective. It really does promote an opportunity for a little smugness seldom offered a mystery reader - who is often kept in the dark about certain critical information until the denouement. The story is a good one and the resolution generally satisfying. It reminded why I have always enjoyed the Hillerman(s)'s series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Silvio111

    Note: I just read this book for the 2nd time - I still do not think Louisa is necessary and she is still really irritating. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Pretty good, except for the totally annoying presence of Louisa Bourbonette, whose "collaboration" Joe Leaphorn is completely improbable. I readily acknowledge that she pisses me off because I am loyal to Leaphorn's late wife, Emma, who was a solid, loveable, intelligent, and dignified woman who occupi Note: I just read this book for the 2nd time - I still do not think Louisa is necessary and she is still really irritating. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Pretty good, except for the totally annoying presence of Louisa Bourbonette, whose "collaboration" Joe Leaphorn is completely improbable. I readily acknowledge that she pisses me off because I am loyal to Leaphorn's late wife, Emma, who was a solid, loveable, intelligent, and dignified woman who occupied an equal yet separate domain of the marriage. She did not try to tag along, and although Leaphorn readily shared his thoughts with her and appreciated her perspective, she was not part of the investigation. She did not ride along; she did not put her two cents in (about the case) to his coworkers, suspects, or other bystanders as the ubiquitous Louisa continues to do. Okay, I grant that Leaphorn might be lonely for female companionship and that Emma would want him to be happy. But the whole portrayal of their association really, really irritates me. Am I the only one?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    rating: 3.5 On page 138, when Chee thinks about Janet Pete, he finds himself remembering the dreary skies of Washington D.C., the swarms of young men entombed in three-piece suits and subdued by whatever neckties today's fashion demanded; the clamor, the sirens, the smell of the traffic, the layers upon layers of social phoniness. That pretty much mirrors my thoughts about any big city, except my list of dislikes would be longer. A little further down on the same page, Chee spotted a raptor circlin rating: 3.5 On page 138, when Chee thinks about Janet Pete, he finds himself remembering the dreary skies of Washington D.C., the swarms of young men entombed in three-piece suits and subdued by whatever neckties today's fashion demanded; the clamor, the sirens, the smell of the traffic, the layers upon layers of social phoniness. That pretty much mirrors my thoughts about any big city, except my list of dislikes would be longer. A little further down on the same page, Chee spotted a raptor circling overhead, a raptor that he determined was an eagle (the one in the title). When it turned, he noticed a gap in its fan of tail feathers. Probably an old one. Tail feathers aren't lost to molting. Facts like that are intriguing. I did a google search and spent a few minutes reading about eagle molting. I didn't spot much about tail feathers. Now I'm wondering. Is it true that eagles don't molt their tail feathers?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ed Mestre

    Tony Hillerman can always be counted on for a quick, enjoyable read. Unlike Patricia Cornwell's "Body Farm" I recently reviewed it doesn't have the handicap of sounding a bit dated no matter when it was published. That's because these mystery solvers don't rely on the latest forensics & computers to come up with the solution. It has to do with relationships. Relationships to their culture, community, & most of all the land of the four corners area of the American Southwest. The space & spirit of Tony Hillerman can always be counted on for a quick, enjoyable read. Unlike Patricia Cornwell's "Body Farm" I recently reviewed it doesn't have the handicap of sounding a bit dated no matter when it was published. That's because these mystery solvers don't rely on the latest forensics & computers to come up with the solution. It has to do with relationships. Relationships to their culture, community, & most of all the land of the four corners area of the American Southwest. The space & spirit of this special area is integral to the story lifting me out of my urban setting to soar, at least for a little while, over ancient vistas. Glimpsing with some slight understanding of another world view that often seems superior. Oh yeah, and there's usually a damn good mystery to go along with it. "The First Eagle" is certainly no exception.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Orville Jenkins

    A murder mystery and a medical mystery coincide with the appearance of bubonic plague on the reservation. The usual FBI swaggers appear as comic relief in the Hillerman style, referred to by Navajo Police Detective Jim Chee as the Federal Bureau of Incompetence. With the rich cultural backdrops, the brusque Feds always manage to overlook the sensitive worldview issues. They come off looking stupid due to their arrogance and ignorance of the local factors in a case. George Guidall's clear vocal ac A murder mystery and a medical mystery coincide with the appearance of bubonic plague on the reservation. The usual FBI swaggers appear as comic relief in the Hillerman style, referred to by Navajo Police Detective Jim Chee as the Federal Bureau of Incompetence. With the rich cultural backdrops, the brusque Feds always manage to overlook the sensitive worldview issues. They come off looking stupid due to their arrogance and ignorance of the local factors in a case. George Guidall's clear vocal acting enables us to identify and follow the interaction of the generous cast of characters peopling this Hillerman novel. In this story, a sideline plot is very important as Jim Chee undergoes training to become a shaman. The Mystical aspects of the culture flow along with the ominous challenges of the black death. Science and the supernatural cooperate to solve this mystery.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Gibson

    From most authors, this would be an impressive book. From Hillerman, it is not. He was coasting with this one -- worth reading, but don't buy it unless, like me, you find it at the used bookstore.Yes, it has Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, and it's set on the reservation. But the precipitating conflict is between two non-Native American researchers on the reservation. Leaphorn gets hired by one of the researcher's parents to solve her disappearance. Glimpses of Navajo culture and thinking, and Hopi c From most authors, this would be an impressive book. From Hillerman, it is not. He was coasting with this one -- worth reading, but don't buy it unless, like me, you find it at the used bookstore.Yes, it has Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, and it's set on the reservation. But the precipitating conflict is between two non-Native American researchers on the reservation. Leaphorn gets hired by one of the researcher's parents to solve her disappearance. Glimpses of Navajo culture and thinking, and Hopi culture, are here. But they are only glimpses, of what was fully laid out in exquisite and compassionate detail in Hillerman's previous books. If you've heard great things about Hillerman, they're true -- but NOT in this book. Please start with one of his others.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Morris Graham

    A Hopi eagle poacher, the murder of a Navajo Tribal Policeman, a missing vector control agent sudying bubonic plague cases among the prairie dog burrows... Follow retired NTP Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and acting Lieutenant Jim Chee on their search for the truth. This story is full of angles, troubles between local law enforcement on the reservation and the FBI, along with the return back to the reservation of Chee's half Navajo ex-fiance turned public defender that makes this novel a spellbinding A Hopi eagle poacher, the murder of a Navajo Tribal Policeman, a missing vector control agent sudying bubonic plague cases among the prairie dog burrows... Follow retired NTP Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and acting Lieutenant Jim Chee on their search for the truth. This story is full of angles, troubles between local law enforcement on the reservation and the FBI, along with the return back to the reservation of Chee's half Navajo ex-fiance turned public defender that makes this novel a spellbinding story. Hillerman weaves the theme of plague and the study of antibotic resistant pathogens expertly. In the backdrop of the Navajo nations, he weaves so many elements together, but keeps you guessing until the end whodonit. Great Read!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Renaissance

    I selected this novel on the recommendation of a friend who knew I had visited Canyon de Chelly and spent some time camping on the Navajo Reservation and visiting some of the local sights. Murder mysteries are not a literary genre I usually read, but I found this one interesting in that I recognized many of the locations (Window Rock, Hopi Cultural Center, Tuba City, Moenkoepi, Chinle, etc.) and could relate to the descriptions of the environment (the desert air, landscape, etc.). This was a fai I selected this novel on the recommendation of a friend who knew I had visited Canyon de Chelly and spent some time camping on the Navajo Reservation and visiting some of the local sights. Murder mysteries are not a literary genre I usually read, but I found this one interesting in that I recognized many of the locations (Window Rock, Hopi Cultural Center, Tuba City, Moenkoepi, Chinle, etc.) and could relate to the descriptions of the environment (the desert air, landscape, etc.). This was a fairly quick read and fun read, but probably not a genre to which I will return soon. I do appreciate the respect and dignity with which Hillerman displays the Hopi and Navajo characters and learned a bit about the unique status of the Navajo nation--a nation within a nation!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert Walton

    This book is especially resonant in the age of Ebola. Tony Hillerman and Edward Abbey are the great champions of of the Southwest, though only Hillerman embraces the natural world as an active character in his novels. That world seizes primacy in First Eagle. Old friends Leaphorn, Chee and McGinnes have their thoughtful conversations, but they and the other characters float upon deadly, murderous currents. In trying to resolve the death of a murdered policeman and the fate of a missing woman, th This book is especially resonant in the age of Ebola. Tony Hillerman and Edward Abbey are the great champions of of the Southwest, though only Hillerman embraces the natural world as an active character in his novels. That world seizes primacy in First Eagle. Old friends Leaphorn, Chee and McGinnes have their thoughtful conversations, but they and the other characters float upon deadly, murderous currents. In trying to resolve the death of a murdered policeman and the fate of a missing woman, the detectives clarify a deeper paradox: a natural world of unsurpassed beauty that seeks to kill us with merciless diseases.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Very satisfying book in Navajo Tribal Police series. There is good feeling of place and local customs, combined with a good crime mystery. It is interesting to see ways in which knowledge of Navajo customs and local people played a part in police investigation. There are conflicts involving a struggling romance. To my mind, that was not really a necessary component of the story, but it did serve in furthering development of characters who can be expected to show up in future books in the series. Very satisfying book in Navajo Tribal Police series. There is good feeling of place and local customs, combined with a good crime mystery. It is interesting to see ways in which knowledge of Navajo customs and local people played a part in police investigation. There are conflicts involving a struggling romance. To my mind, that was not really a necessary component of the story, but it did serve in furthering development of characters who can be expected to show up in future books in the series. Good book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janel

    I think because I am reading this series in order, I love the stories even more than I did the first time. Characters that show up sporadically in the books are fresher in my mind and therefore I don't spend time trying to remember their back story. This book is not as enjoyable if you have not read previous Leaphorn/Chee stories. I loved everything about this story. I am sadly getting closer to the final Tony Hillerman story. I think because I am reading this series in order, I love the stories even more than I did the first time. Characters that show up sporadically in the books are fresher in my mind and therefore I don't spend time trying to remember their back story. This book is not as enjoyable if you have not read previous Leaphorn/Chee stories. I loved everything about this story. I am sadly getting closer to the final Tony Hillerman story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol Jones-Campbell

    This really had everything I want in a good book: decent writing, intriguing setting, and reflections on relationships: both ethical and romantic. Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee and "Cowboy" all love each other; other characters support that love. It's worth taking to heart. The plot: a bit different, but only because it wasn't the point. The plot was clever. This really had everything I want in a good book: decent writing, intriguing setting, and reflections on relationships: both ethical and romantic. Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee and "Cowboy" all love each other; other characters support that love. It's worth taking to heart. The plot: a bit different, but only because it wasn't the point. The plot was clever.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Lots of intresting details, good research, but I was not really in suspence. Really wonderfull charecters too. Later-I discussed this with a goodreads friend and 2 others and came to relize this was #14 in a series. I may go back and read #1 down the road. The anthropology was a blast.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Another great story with Leaphorn and Chee. This one isn't so much about the Native Americans as it is about the land and illness. The twists and turns of relationships are evolving! I am really liking the cast in this series. Another great story with Leaphorn and Chee. This one isn't so much about the Native Americans as it is about the land and illness. The twists and turns of relationships are evolving! I am really liking the cast in this series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    SoulSurvivor

    It has been years since I read a Hillerman book ; this one made me wonder why ?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scott Whitney

    I needed something to take my mind off of work for a while. This book helped. The mystery kept me going for quite a while. I was able to forecast some of the ending, but not all. I did stay up late one night to get to the end since the action was coming to a head and I could not get the mystery out of my mind anyway.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Robertson

    The legendary Lieutenant Leaphorn is retired but still investigating mysteries on the reservation, and it's a good thing, as his insights are invaluable to his longtime subordinate Jim Chee. In this mystery Chee's focused on the murder of a Navajo police officer under his command while Leaphorn is investigating the disappearance of a field scientist looking for the source of bubonic plague that's killed a couple of Indians. The researcher disappeared on the same day that the officer was murdered The legendary Lieutenant Leaphorn is retired but still investigating mysteries on the reservation, and it's a good thing, as his insights are invaluable to his longtime subordinate Jim Chee. In this mystery Chee's focused on the murder of a Navajo police officer under his command while Leaphorn is investigating the disappearance of a field scientist looking for the source of bubonic plague that's killed a couple of Indians. The researcher disappeared on the same day that the officer was murdered, and of course that's no coincidence. This is a really strong series with wonderful characters. Leaphorn is the gristled old pro who seemingly can't stay away, while Chee is the apprentice who's now stepped into Leaphorn's shoes. (Though right now he's only an "acting" lieutenant", and doesn't really like the job.) Both men have issues in their personal lives that Hillerman succeeds in actually making the reader care about. Leaphorn is a lonely widower while Chee is a traditional Navajo in love with the wrong woman. Thank goodness it seems that Chee has finally come to his senses regarding his relationship with the beautiful, smart and very ambitious Janet Pete. It's funny that Hillerman has done such a good job with these characters and yet, on page 243 of this edition, while writing about Chee he refers to him as Leaphorn. Near the end of chapter 24, Chee is going over in his mind various scenarios regarding how Janet might use some information he's given her, and at the end of a very long paragraph concerning scenario three Hillerman writes that "…and on that tape Agent Reynald could be heard ordering Leaphorn to get rid of the eagle and thus the evidence." In fact, the FBI agent was ordering Chee, not Leaphorn, to get rid of the evidence. That's some sloppy editing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    James Korsmo

    I have long been a lover of Tony Hillerman stories. I enjoy the cultural landscape that surrounds his mysteries, and appreciate the cultural tensions in which his characters struggle and flourish. This book displays that same depth with the same quality mystery that typifies Hillerman's work. Now, his writing isn't as deep as P. D. James, but that's okay. Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are two good main characters, and they again put their detecting skills to work to solve a murder and a disappearanc I have long been a lover of Tony Hillerman stories. I enjoy the cultural landscape that surrounds his mysteries, and appreciate the cultural tensions in which his characters struggle and flourish. This book displays that same depth with the same quality mystery that typifies Hillerman's work. Now, his writing isn't as deep as P. D. James, but that's okay. Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are two good main characters, and they again put their detecting skills to work to solve a murder and a disappearance. Chee is a Lieutenant with the Navajo Tribal Police and Leaphorn is a recently reteired Lieutenant. These long time partners find themselves working on the same case, with Chee investigating the murder of fellow Tribal Officer Kinsman while Leaphorn is working as a PI to investigate the mysterious disappearance, around the same time and place as the murder, of a vector control officer studying a recent case of Bubonic Plague. Chee was the first one on the scene of Kinsman's murder, and captured a suspect literally "red handed." But his former fiance and defense attorney for the accused, Janet Pete, insists that there's more than meets the eye. The mystery takes the two all across the desert southwest, and into the world of vector control and research into contagious disease. As they figure out that Cathy Pollard has disappeared in the same vicinity and at the same time as the murder, they must figure out if and how the two events are related. Is she a suspect? Another victim? An unrelated disappearance. This book is vintage Hillerman, and I enjoyed it. It made me yearn for the southwest, and if gas wasn't so expensive I'd hit the road for Santa Fe or Albuquerque to take in some sopapillas and some desert scenery.

  29. 5 out of 5

    astaliegurec

    OK. Yet another 3-1/2 stars instead of the official Very Good 4 stars out of 5 showing here. I'm going to assume that since "The First Eagle" is the 13th book in Tony Hillerman's "Leaphorn & Chee" series, the people reading this by now know how Hillerman writes. This is mostly that. However, there are problems. The most trivial is that the Kindle version has a lot of OCR/editing issues. Next, the little inconsistencies in technical writing that I noticed in the last book ("The Fallen Man") are m OK. Yet another 3-1/2 stars instead of the official Very Good 4 stars out of 5 showing here. I'm going to assume that since "The First Eagle" is the 13th book in Tony Hillerman's "Leaphorn & Chee" series, the people reading this by now know how Hillerman writes. This is mostly that. However, there are problems. The most trivial is that the Kindle version has a lot of OCR/editing issues. Next, the little inconsistencies in technical writing that I noticed in the last book ("The Fallen Man") are more prevalent and more obvious. Third, some of those inconsistencies rise beyond technical writing issues into minor plot errors (Leaphorn interviewing someone early in the book who isn't in the book, gaps in alibis never checked and the character involved disappearing, inconsistencies in methods). Fourth, Chee's closest friend not talking to him about something very important. Fifth, someone very close to Chee got sick, had surgery, is dying AND CHEE DIDN'T KNOW about it! And, finally, the overall feeling of the book is that its more about Chee's personal life than about the mystery or the Navajo way of life. In general, the Hillerman style is there, but it just doesn't feel as finished as it should be. I'd also like to say that it sure looks like Chee has finally gotten his head screwed on right and he'll get his personal life figured out. Hillerman's "Leaphorn & Chee" novels are: 1. The Blessing Way 2. Dance Hall of the Dead 3. Listening Woman 4. People of Darkness 5. The Dark Wind 6. The Ghostway (Jim Chee Novels) 7. Skinwalkers 8. A Thief of Time 9. Talking God 10. Coyote Waits 11. Sacred Clowns: Novel, A 12. The Fallen Man 13. The First Eagle 14. Hunting Badger 15. The Wailing Wind 16. The Sinister Pig 17. Skeleton Man 18. The Shape Shifter

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I really like Tony Hillerman's book. One of the things I like is that they are set in the 4 corners area and I have spent a little time there. Hillerman is good at explaining some things about Indian culture (several different tribes) This book is about a group of people, from several agencies, studying plague and other diseases that have become more virulent due to the overuse of antibiotics. At the beginning to the story a man has just died of plague contracted from fleas on prairie dogs. I ha I really like Tony Hillerman's book. One of the things I like is that they are set in the 4 corners area and I have spent a little time there. Hillerman is good at explaining some things about Indian culture (several different tribes) This book is about a group of people, from several agencies, studying plague and other diseases that have become more virulent due to the overuse of antibiotics. At the beginning to the story a man has just died of plague contracted from fleas on prairie dogs. I have often wondered what will happen when we have a large outbreak of plague from the fleas on prairie dogs.....will people still think they are so cute and love them so much??? It appears that an Indian has killed a Navajo policeman (he is found kneeling over the policeman and has his blood on him) The Indian says he was illegally hunting eagles and the blood is from where an eagle got him. Office Jim Chee (long time Hillerman character) is the one of discovers the murder/murderer. It isn't long until retired Lt.Leaphorn is involved as a young, female health officer disappeared in this same area on the same day. Leaphorn has a lot of philosophy that he shares....such as, "there is no such thing as co-incidence." (I think that is true in live as well as solving murders) All in all, another good murder mystery by Hillerman. Too bad he died in 2008...I will miss his novels.

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