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Rock With Wings by Anne Hillerman (Review #2)


Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Rock with WingsRock with Wings is the second book in an exciting and captivating series featuring the husband and wife team of Bernie Manuelito and Jim Chee, who are both Navajo Nation police officers in the American Southwest.

Bernie and Chee drive from their home in Shiprock to Monument Valley for a short vacation. However, it is interrupted when Bernie finds out her sister has disappeared and left their frail mother at home alone. Bernie goes home to deal with her family crisis, and Chee stays in Monument Valley to help his cousin, who is in the final steps of launching a tourism business.

When Chee is asked to help out the shorthanded police department, he becomes involved in a convoluted case that is tied to a zombie movie being filmed in the Monument Valley area. Bernie has her hands full juggling family issues and police duties that include working on a baffling case revolving around a suspicious acting man she stops for a traffic violation. Both Bernie and Chee run into roadblocks in trying to solve their cases and ask for advice from retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, who is recovering from a traumatic head injury and is using a laptop to communicate. Just when Bernie and Chee think they are one step closer to solving their individual cases, another obstacle blocks each of their paths in catching the guilty party.

Anne Hillerman has written an engrossing mystery full of dedicated police work that is wonderfully intertwined with traditional Navajo beliefs. The evocative descriptions and gorgeous use of language make readers feel as if they are on the Navajo reservation alongside the characters every step of the way. Mysterious boxes of dirt, a possible gravesite, a puzzling car fire, and a solar energy project are all intricate and exciting elements in the plot that keeps readers glued to the pages of the book. The two separate investigations by Bernie and Chee are skillfully woven together into the plot lines with no loose ends left dangling. Multiple viable suspects and puzzling clues keep readers guessing all the way to the riveting and satisfying conclusion. Navajo words are incorporated seamlessly into the story, and a glossary of the terms used is included.

Rock with Wings can be read as a stand-alone book, but for readers who enjoy superb Navajo mysteries, they will want to read the first book in this series, Spider Woman’s Daughter.



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