The Sacred Bridge

HarperAudio. (A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Mystery, Bk. 7). Apr. 2022. 9:18 hrs. ISBN 9780063214736. $27.99. M
In Hillerman’s (Stargazer) seventh “Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Mystery,” Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police hikes around Lake Powell. He is ostensibly on vacation but is really searching for a sacred cave that is rumored to contain valuable artifacts. While en route, Jim finds a corpse floating in the lake; the dead man turns out to be the murdered clan brother of his wife, Officer Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito. While Jim has a wealth of motives and suspects to consider, Bernie is drawn into her own case, an investigation of an intentional hit-and-run accident. Listeners will be intrigued by the additional elements that Hillerman introduces into the story—the government, the cannabis industry, and the characters’ personal development and growth. The vivid descriptions of the Southwestern landscape and Navajo culture are absorbing. Primary narrator and Cherokee actress DeLanna Studi provides a strong performance with effective characterizations. Listeners will especially appreciate the glossary of Navajo words, read by Navajo Code Talker Peter MacDonald Sr.
VERDICT A solid addition to the series that will satisfy Hillerman’s many fans.
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