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Publisher's Summary

A Zuni Indian boy dies in a bizarre ritual slaying - and his best friend, a Navajo youth, is missing. Navajo police lieutenant Joe Leaphorn tracks the friend from Zuni village to Navajo hogan, from anthropological dig to hippie commune, across the desert of New Mexico and Arizona. In his search, Leaphorn discovers the ancient secrets of the Zunis and the hidden crimes of white men. Narrator Michael Ansara's experience with American Indian roles on stage and screen lends authenticity to his resonant reading of this Edgar-winning tale of murder and deception.
(P)1986 by The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.

Critic Reviews

  • Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner, Best Novel, 1974

"High entertainment...An aesthetically satisfying glimpse of the still-powerful tribal mysteries." (The New Yorker)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • James
  • Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • 07-18-04

Pace was off

The problem with an abridged book is that it lacks the depth that a good author can give in a full length treatment. That was clearly the case here. Other than that, it was a pleasant experience.
Why no other books by Hillerman at Audible.com?

55 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

wished it was longer

Always enjoy these books - just wish they were longer.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Dancehall of the Dead

Hillerman is an easy read and has a pleasant way he approaches his characters. This is the first book I have listened to but have read 6 or 7 and they are just as good anyway you take them. I would like to see more audibles done as I don't mind listening over and over. I highly recommend him to anyone who enjoys a good wholesome story with intrigue and down to earth approaches.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great listen

This is a wonderful mystery that is both clear and easy to listen to and keep up with. I'm a big fan of Hillerman, and hope that many more of his books will be available on Audible!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great story, good narration, poor production

I love Hillerman and Michael Ansara did a good job of bringing the story to live with voice characterizations. I was disappointed by the sound quality and uneveness in production. It definitely detracted from an otherwise excellent book narrated with a memorable voice. Accordingly, I was disappointed overall and wouldn't have purchased this audiobook had I know of the issues in the recording.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Painful Narration

Not a bad book but I had to start listening three times due to the painfully monotone narration. Would be a pretty good listen if they re-did it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The storyteller I will always remember!

Almost 20 years ago (when I could still read) I become addicted to the great Navajo nation policeman, Lieutenant Joseph Leaphorn. He opened my mind to the wonders of the Native American way of life, the reverence he expressed for all forms of life, and the truly awesome mysticism which he used to find his way his way to the to the "bad guy" ! I couldn't wait wait for Tony Hillerman to writ a new book I was always on his web sight, carefully checking to see when his next book would be available to read.

I've been an Audlible subscriber for a number of years now, even before I lost the ability to read due to my diagnosisI have

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A good mystery

I read this book years back & completely forgot how it unfolded but enjoyed it!

  • Overall
  • Performance

Bought without noticing

abridged and not read by George Guidal. Would have purchased if not for these reasons. But i did and that's that. Have gotten George Guidal version since.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Lousy abridged version

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I only buy abridged books by mistake. Made a mistake and bought this one. So it was already bad. Then this particular abridged version was terrible. Looks like they paid no attention to anything but the length and just chopped stuff out willy nilly. Shame on me for buying this lousy version of a good story. Don't you make the same mistake.

Any additional comments?

Don't even sell abridged books in the first place!

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  • Overall
  • Josie
  • 12-19-08

I enjoyed this very much

I noticed the obituaries of Tony Hillerman in the papers earlier this year, and was intrigued by the descriptions of his work. I'd never heard of him, but I like crime books, especially ones that aren't too gruesome, and have visited the western US a few times - not Arizona, where this is set, but it's similar enough landscape to Utah and Colorado for me to be able to imagine it. Not that you'd need to have been there to enjoy it - he does a terrific job of making you feel like you're right there.

The book has an excellent plot that keeps you guessing until quite near the end, and Joe Leaphorn, the detective, is an intriguing character who manages to be compelling even though he reveals virtually nothing about himself.

The descriptions of Zuni ritual and customs are engaging and never degenerate into travelogue or local colour. I'm no expert on lit-crit so when I realised the book was essentially about the nature of taboo (and not just of the Zunis) I realised what a clever writer Hillerman is, to take a big topic like that and yet not make it over-dramatic.

As a book, it's ideal for audio listening as it's written day by day so divides into short sections which are easy to listen to without getting lost. It's been skilfully abridged and there's none of that 'whoops, there goes another carefully crafted sub-plot' feeling that you sometimes get with abridgements. The actor who reads it, Michael Ansara, is excellent, giving just the right laconic delivery for Leaphorn.

All in all, I really enjoyed it and it's a shame that none of Hillerman's other titles are available on Audible (and if they are offered, it would be nice to have a choice of some unabridged versions too).

If you like old-fashioned crime, Westerns, or books by Kinky Friedman, you will definitely enjoy this.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Landgirl
  • 12-24-12

Crime and order in a different world view

Tony Hillerman writes the kind of story I enjoy--sympathetic, thoughtful stories with characters that you can enjoy getting to know. I have read all his fiction and would love to see more of them on audiobooks. In addition to a good read or listen for the story itself, Tony Hillerman opens up a world few people get to see--a genuine insight into contemporary Native American cultures in the southwest of the United States.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • joan wright
  • 02-13-09

Great but would prefer unabridged

I would very much recomend Tony Hillerman audiobooks. George Guidall narrates the unabridged versions and they are great. It's great to get books even fiction that deal with native americans as more than something out of a cowboy film or dances with wolves.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful