Anne Hillerman, the talented daughter of best-selling author Tony Hillerman, continues his popular Leaphorn and Chee series with Spider Woman's Daughter, a Navajo Country mystery, filled with captivating lore, startling suspense, bold new characters, vivid color, and rich Southwestern atmosphere.
Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manualito witnesses the cold-blooded shooting of someone very close to her. With the victim fighting for his life, the entire squad and the local FBI office are hell-bent on catching the gunman. Bernie, too, wants in on the investigation, despite regulations forbidding eyewitness involvement. But that doesn't mean she's going to sit idly by, especially when her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, is in charge of finding the shooter.
Bernie and Chee discover that a cold case involving his former boss and partner, retired Inspector Joe Leaphorn, may hold the key. Digging into the old investigation, husband and wife find themselves inching closer to the truth...and closer to a killer determined to prevent justice from taking its course.
©2013 Anne Hillerman (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
The later books in the Jim Chee/ Joe Leaphorn Navaho series saga were lacking in comparison with his earlier works. His daughter's work (at least I assume this is his daughter) doesn't greatly reverse this slide. Officer Bernadette Manuelito is too broadly drawn to be a strong main character. the only thing we know about her for sure is that she resents her husband Jim Chee giving her directions; much less orders. This despite the fact that he is her superior officer.
The culprit in the book is obvious before you reach the halfway point. Despite this, both professional police officers and the FBI are don't perceive it until the the last hour of the audiobook. The relationship between 'Bernie' and her family never rises above obvious cliches and her sister is so entirely unsympathetic her problems so obviously self induced it wasn't possible to care much for her troubles.
The biggest problem I had with the audiobook though; was the reader. Perhaps it would not have mattered who replaced George Guidall; it wouldn't have been the same. This reader certainly wasn't up to the task. Perhaps it was Guidall who mispronounced Navaho words for the first fifteen or so works; but I doubt it. Christina Delaine might improve over time but to those who've listened to the series read by George Guidall it won't be the same.
Certain elements of the mystery were well done. The story dovetailed nicely with a previous Hillerman work and the intricate murder plot was nicely done. If you appreciated the last few Tony Hillerman Navaho cop books this one will at least match those; particularly the last two. For those of you who were fans of the earlier books in the series; save your credit.
I would like to give Anne Hillerman another chance but not the narrator!
I, like other reviewers, had the villian figured out half way through book!! Which left later part of book's supense dependent on Leaphorn's outcome & how all the involved agencies would finally figure out 'who dun it'!
Even taking into consideration my bias toward Geo Guidall as narrator of Tony Hillerman's books I absolutely could not get into Delaine's narration!! The navajo female voices all sounded the same and the males feminine. Ugh.
The sister was unredeemable as written and I was left hanging as to her outcome or how 'stooped boy' played into her character.
Prehaps I had too high of hope for this book. Those were mighty big shoes to fill and I really felt Tony himself was having difficulty filling his own shoes the last several books. They just weren't up to the first ones!
No - it was difficult enough the first time. Made a long drive more interesting, though, and the story was worth it.
The healing sing in the hospital at Santa Fe, and the change in Chee's feelings about Santa Fe.
The Navajo men for the most part sounded like cliched Italian mobsters vaguely from New York city or New Jersey. Women were better, some pretty convincing.
She's a good enough cop, after all.
This is a weak book. The plot was okay and it had a Southwestern ambiance was there, but it was almost impossible to get by the horrible narration.
A lot of the Navajo sounded mispronounced to me and the Navajo accent was way off (I have lived and worked in the Southwest for many years and have had many Navajo coworkers). Even some of the Spanish was mispronounced. The Navajos, especially the Captain, sounded more like Italian mobsters than anything else. All-in-all, I had a terrible time getting past the narration to hear the story. Some of the characters were weak and stereotyped.
I hope this writer tries again and goes on to develop a stronger voice. I hope either the narrator does more research on how words and place names are pronounced. It was a decent first effort to fill some mighty big shoes, marred by the worst narration I have come across on Audible.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I was a big fan of Tony Hillerman’s Joe Leaphorn series. When I saw his daughter Anne Hillerman is going to try to revive the series I was nervous about her carrying it off. I thought it was smart of her to choose Bernadette (Bernie) Manuelita to carry the story forward. Joe Leaphorn is shot right in front of Bernie and she is determined to find out who did it. Her husband Jim Chee is put in charge of the investigation and to co-ordinate with the FBI. I loved the description of Navaho culture and of the county side. The description of Chaco canyon ruins was excellent. I enjoyed the description of the old blanket hanging in the museum. The last half of the book has lots of action and suspense as Bernie closes in on the shooter of Leaphorn and the murderer of the art appraiser. Christina Delaine did an acceptable job in reading the story. Thought Anne did a good job for her first try at the series. I am looking forward to more in the series.
Enjoyed the book
I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed all of her father's books, some were great, some were good and some were just ok. I would rate this book in the high end of good. I enjoyed the story and had some great detail, very much in keeping with her Dad's books.
Bring back George Guidall as the narrator. I did not like the narrator. Eventually just finished reading the book. The narrator's male voices were very distracting
Keep writing Anne! For a first Novell I think the book is very good, better than I was expecting. I look forward to her next book.
I was skeptical about how well anyone could do with characters so recognizable as Chee and Leaphorn. But this author has captured her father's style and story-telling technique very nicely, The Navaho traditions appear as naturally as you would expect, and all the elements are as familiar as a favorite pair of slippers. All of this is wrapped around a mystery as prickly as the plants of the desert home of Chee and Leaphorn.
Bernie and Jim and the tribal police struggle as they try to solve this shooting without the insights of Leaphorn's years of experience. More than one mystery needs to be solved, adding to the confusion. Another great storyteller comes to the fore, and I would love to read more by Anne Hillerman.
My sole distraction was the reader. Years in the southwest has taught me that Navaho and most other Native peoples of this area, speak exactly as you and I do. Christina Delaine made nearly every native speaker sound if they were barely in touch with English. They sounded wooden, stilted and like they were acting in a badly directed and stereotyped play at a small-town production where Navaho characters would be exotic. If the story hadn't kept me involved I would have quit listening long before the end. Surely, someone must have heard how badly done this was performed. They should have caught this long before it went public. She did very poor service to the story, the characters and the author, who did a magnificent job of recreating the world of her father's stories.
The immersion in Navajo culture and the southwest was excellent. For awhile I liked the continuation of A Thief of Time; however, I have read that book 15 times (with high school classes) and I wish the author had. The returning characters drifted too far from their original characters. The last 20 percent of the book became, ugh, chick novel. I would read another one by this author IF it did not take the chick novel route.
With reservations. My friends have all read the series.
The accents and the characterization of Chee were horrible. Audible needs to re-record this one.
The end was pretty much out of rhythm with the rest.
The narrator was awful. Her attempt at a Navajo 'dialect' was terrible. It made some characters just sound foolish. As a Native American who lives in New Mexico, it was bordering on offensive.
I have read ALL of the Leaphorn and Chee stories. After Tony Hillerman passed, I mourned the loss of this great author, as well as his wonderful characters. My husband and I went out West shortly after his death and I referred to our trip to the area as the "Tony Hillerman Memorial Tour"...
Recently, when I learned about "Spider Woman's Daughter," I was hesitant to read/listen to the story because I worried that I would be disappointed. However, I was thrilled to realize that the story is not only up to the standard of a well-crafted Hillerman novel, but true to the characters.
Ms. Hillerman wisely chose Bernie as the center of the story in her first attempt to continue the story line. And she successfully composed a sensitive, well-woven mystery. It was terrific to learn more about the Manuelito family - adding realism to the family element of these contemporary tales. I do hope more Leaphorn & Chee stories are planned! I will surely read them all. Must be in the DNA.
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