Cave of Bones: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel

Harper. Apr. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780062391926. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062391940. M
In the fourth series installment (after Song of the Lion), the law enforcement talents of Hillerman's characters shine. New Mexico tribal police officer Bernadette Manuelito agrees to talk to a group of at-risk teenage girls who are participating in a wilderness challenge near a Navajo reservation. One of the girls has just returned from a vision quest with a story of being lost and spending the night in a cave where she discovered bones; now an instructor who had gone looking for her is missing. As the search is organized, the girl's mother, a prominent tribal official, accuses Bernie and the program leaders of stealing tribal funds. While Bernie sifts through the evidence, she encounters some questionable individuals who appear to be involved in stealing artifacts from Native American grave sites. Meanwhile, Jim Chee, Bernie's husband, discovers that a man he sent to prison is associating with Bernie's sister. As always, retired cop Joe Leaphorn is available for advice. Hillerman's vivid descriptions of Navajo culture and the desert landscape are top-notch; the story lines flow smoothly to a satisfying conclusion.
VERDICT Fans of Hillerman's characters will relish this Southwestern mystery and cheer Bernie's growing confidence as a sleuth. [See Prepub Alert, 10/16/17.]
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