BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Wind – by Tony Hillerman

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Title: The Dark Wind
(Navajo Mysteries Series #5)
Author: Tony Hillerman
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller
First published: 1982
Finished reading: December 10th 2014
Pages: 290
Rating 3,5

“Then, as he thought it through all the way, through from the east, the south, the west, and the north, and back to the east again, just as his uncle had taught him, he saw that it might help. Everything must have a reason. Nothing was done without a cause.”

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It’s not the first time I read a book by Tony Hillerman. I read Hunting Badger last year and I remember enjoying the Native American elements in that novel. The Dark Wind is no exception; the same Native American elements makes this novel stand out from other treasure hunt stories. It is quite easy to understand this story without reading the previous books of the Navajo Mysteries series; I haven’t done so myself and I didn’t feel I was missing important information. The Dark Wind is an entertaining, although sometimes a tad slow read that gives you a glimpse of how things work in the Native American community. And exactly that cultural information makes this novel worth reading.

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Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police has been transferred to a new area just as things get complicated. A dead body that shows signs of Navajo sorcery has been found on Hopi land… And as Jim Chee is investigating a chain of strange attacks on a windmill, an airplane crashes close to the crime scene. The crash turns out to be drugs related, and things make a turn for the worse when the shipment of cocaine vanishes without a trace. Chee is convinced everything is connected, but his boss doesn’t want him to get involved in the federal investigation. But they get to him anyway, and soon Chee is not only determined to figure out what really happened, but also trying not to get killed in the process…

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The Dark Wind was an interesting read full of cultural references, and these Native American elements made up for most of the flaws. The pace is a bit slow at points and not all scenes and characters are actually believable… But all in all Hillerman managed to write an entertaining novel that is worth reading, especially if you are interested in the Native American culture.

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Hunting Badger – by Tony Hillerman

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Title: Hunting Badger
(Navajo Mysteries Series #14)
Author: Tony Hillerman
First published: November 1st 1999
Finished reading: August 12th 2013
Pages: 318

When I started reading this book I realized that I had read it once before already some years ago. Still I decided to continue reading since it’s an easy reading story where Tony Hillerman mixes police business with old Native American traditions. When three men rob a casino, kill some men in the process and then flee the area. A huge man hunt starts. The FBI gets involved, but it’s the Navajo Tribal Police that solves it in the end. Sergeant Chee and retired Leaphorn see where the FBI don’t see, and use old Native American folklore stories to hunt their prey. Stories talk about an Ute called Ironhand, also called badger in shape-shifter stories, who can disappear and appear in the mountains…

It’s an ok story, but in my opinion some characters and parts of the stories lack development. All in all a nice one to read, but definitely not challenging.