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The Fallen Man (Leaphorn & Chee #12)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,445 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
Human bones lie on a ledge under the peak of Ship Rock mountain, the remains of a murder victim undisturbed for more than a decade. Three hundred miles across the Navajo reservation, a harmless old canyon guide is felled by a sniper's bullet. Joe Leaphorn, recently retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, believes the shooter and the skeleton are somehow connected and recall ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Harper (first published 1996)
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Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
They sat a while, engulfed by sunlight, cool air, and silence. A raven planed down from the rim, circled around a cottonwood, landed on a Russian olive across the canyon floor, and perched, waiting for them to die.

Another excellent mystery novel from Hillerman. I have been really enjoying these entries more than his very early ones.

There are two real cases here: the skeleton of a mountain climber is discovered in a crevice. And someone is rustling cattle in the area.

This mystery was one of the m
This is going to be more about related issues than the actual book.
First of all, I sometimes have a tendency to avoid really popular or trendy books, books that might be sold in airports. At some point, after all the people raving about him, I told myself I needed to take a look at a Hillerman book, but it took me a long time to get around to it.
By all accounts, Tony Hillerman was a great guy. He had connections to my university, as well as two places I've worked. He spoke at a writer's confere
Dec 26, 2010 Carol. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, male-lead
Enjoyable. Good pace. Setting well integrated, which is one of Hillerman's strengths.
Michael Fox
Apr 20, 2015 Michael Fox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This may be my favorite Tony Hillerman novel. It brings together some of his more notable characters introduced in prior books and continues to percolate their inter-personal drama plotted over multiple novels. But the characters are fuller, more mature. All this is cast against the events of skeletal remains found on a remote ledge of the Shiprock formation in North West New Mexico and the unraveling mystery surrounding its identification and the ultimate solution of that year's-old mystery. A ...more
May 13, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Tony Hillerman's 12 th book in series of Navajo mysteries, "The Fallen Man" again features Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee teaming up to solve a cold case. 11 years prior, inexperienced climber Harold Breedlove disappeared leaving his wife & brother in law to run his ranch. Amazingly one morning after 11 years a skeleton still dressed in climbing gear is found on rock ledge. The question of the exact date is of vital importance. Harold had to live to age 30 to receive his inheritance- Harold was 2 ...more
Morris Graham
Jan 26, 2015 Morris Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The "Fallen Man" has the recently retired LT Leaphorn and Acting LT Jim Chee working together on an old case that was never solved. The NTP find an old skeleton on a ledge and Leaphorn wonders if it is the old missing person case from long ago. Leaphorn is now a consultant for a Washington D.C. firm and hired by the missing man's family to find out what happened. Chee is struggling with his on again-off again romance with Janet Pete, the half-Navajo lawyer who wants to put a rope on Chee and mak ...more
May 31, 2010 Romansreturn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the first time I read an English story without searching every word on the internet. The story is clearly structured. The plot is quite easy to understand so I could imagine myself what words (which I did not understand as a Swiss student) meant.

I also enjoyed reading the book because it is written very excitingly and I was interested in the Navajo culture. Those parts, where Tony Hillerman wrote about the special environment in Navajo, I liked the most.

There were also parts where I did not
Jul 17, 2013 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like these stories and the settings. I don't quite get how they are true Chee and Leaphorn since they never seem to really work directly together but small complaint. It is nice that they don't blend their personal lives with their work lives. I do hope that Chee gives up on Janet...she seems a bit whiney to me and I simply hate when women try to make men something they are not. If she's that blind to how he is, then he's not for her. I'm sure they'll figure that one out shortly. This m ...more
Jo Ellen
The Fallen Man is a modern day detective-cowboy novel set in the southwest. As an Arizona resident, I enjoyed the descriptions of the New Mexico and Arizona terrain. Navajo Detective Chee is the main character as in many of Hillerman's other novels. A human skeleton found on sacred ground brings a cold case to Chee's attention. Once the skeleton is identified, a variety of suspects are considered as well as a sub-plot of cattle rustling. Good book for the airplane.
May 28, 2010 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is really good at developing the dynamics between the characters. You get totally absorbed into Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee's life. And into the mystery of the Fallen Man. Am on p. 158 and I am totally engrossed in this mystery....As the mystery deepened, it was very hard to put this book down. You get an understanding of each of the characters as you read along. It was fun determining who the killer was and it wasn't obvious until the end of the book....
Vonn New
I was in the mood for some light reading and have been disappointed by most of the mysteries I've tried lately. I've seen Tony Hillerman's books on the shelves for years, but for some reason this is the first one I picked up. The plot was well-structured and the characters were interesting. The violence was not overwhelming but there was still some suspense. The best part of the book was the setting.
A skeleton is found several hundred feet high up on a cliff where most people can't get too. Someone is rustling cattle. An old man is shot to death for no apparent reason. A lawyer firm has an interest in an old ranch. All these things have something in common, but what?

Tony Hillerman has an excellent way of bringing several story plots into one conclusion.
Jun 04, 2015 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, Hillerman combines an engaging mystery with all of the local color of the Navajo nation in New Mexico and Arizona. This book highlights the distinct anti-materialistic values that distinguish Navajo culture.

My hard copy, very good condition, is for sale. $6 includes shipping.
Feb 18, 2009 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another gorgeously crafted novel.
Jan 04, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Tony Hillerman.
Orville Jenkins
Dec 27, 2014 Orville Jenkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a murder mystery set on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. Hillerman has constructed an authentic narrative with action and dialogue that represents the cultural flavor of the characters and the situation.

This was my introduction to Hillerman's novels. Discovering Tony Hillerman in November 2009, I was captured by the Southwestern setting and the Native American lore involved in Hillerman's murder mystery The Fallen Man.

Gil Silverbird performs the reading and voices admirably. His master
Mark Robertson
This is the fifth in this series that I've read (obviously I'm not reading them in order), and it may be the best I've read so far. The story here is fast-paced and extremely well-plotted, and the core characters stay true to form while those introduced solely for this tale are well drawn.

I won't spoil the plot, but will note that in this book Leaphorn's recently retired and, apparently, somewhat bored. So it's not a surprise that he plays a central role here. Chee's unhappy about a number of t
Jun 13, 2014 astaliegurec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just like the previous entry in Tony Hillerman's "Leaphorn & Chee" series ("Sacred Clowns"), I'm really rating "The Fallen Man" at 3-1/2 stars instead of the Very Good 4 stars out of 5 showing here. For the positives, once again Hillerman's got Leaphorn and Chee each pulling on their own threads until they finally meet up in the middle, wonderful settings, nice descriptions, bad guys getting what's coming to them, etc.. For the negatives, again, just like the previous book, Hillerman has giv ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers/ southwest mystery
Once again we encounter Navajo cops Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee in a plot that is cleverly pieced together; Hillerman gives us seemingly odd pieces of a puzzle: a skeleton found on an unattainable ledge, a old guide shot by a sniper hundreds of miles away for no apparent reason, frustrated romances, the questionable lawyers, and, of course to make the "western" yarn almost stereotypically complete, cattle rustling! However, in true Hillerman style, there are enough twists and turns to keep any mys ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Judi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-1998
A skeleton is discovered 1,700 feet above the base of a sacred mountain in the four corners Indian reservation. Joe Leaphorn comes out of retirement to help investigate the case, believed to be the rich Anglo named Hal Breedlove who fell while trying to climb Ship Rock eleven years earlier. The Legendary former Lieutenant Leaphorn doesn't believe an Indian would climb the sacred mountain, nor would one kill on it. But then when it comes to mining rights, land claims and money, well, then its any ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, but not great Hillerman.

Joe Leaphorn has just retired and Jim Chee continues his exploration into cross-cultural dating (and difficulties). Officer Bernadette Manuelito becomes a full-fledged character in the series. In fact, this may be the best characterization of her in the series.

There are actually two mysteries in The Fallen Man . One is a cattle-rustling caper. The other is the long-dead body of a climber that is found on Shiprock (Rock With Wings). If you ask, "What's a shiprock?"
May 05, 2011 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love Tony Hillerman's books where he weaves a mystery into the geography of the Southwest and into Navajo culture. On my last trip to New Mexico, I felt as if I had stepped into the pages of one of his Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee novels. This is the 12th book in the series and the personalities of Leaphorn and Chee continue to fascinate me. In this outing, the remains of a man who has been missing for over a decade are found on a tiny ledge on Shiprock Mountain--a mountain that is sacred ...more
Jun 04, 2009 Willa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I like to pick up mysteries from the library sale rack and save them for trips, hospital stays and the like. This one I read on an airplane flight. I have read several Tony Hillerman Navajo Mysteries -- I lived for a year in Arizona near Window Rock, on a Navajo reservation. This one was particularly interesting. The skeleton of a "fallen man" is found on a mountain peak which is sacred to the Navajo. It turns out to be a man who was reported missing 15 years before. Joe Leaphorn, who was involv ...more
Oct 24, 2011 02HoldenR rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-reports
If you want to read a book that will keep you guessing, interested, amped up, and you just can not get enough of it, then this is your book. This book has the most amazing description words, you can almost imagine it in your head. This is one quote where I could imagine it in my head, "Even the body was perfect for the purpose. A little smaller and slimmer that Buchanan's. Just bone, sinew, and muscle, without an ounce of surplus weight, moving like an insect against the cracked basalt." That is ...more
Joe Leaphorn is retired (which is ridiculous to even imagine - true retirement would kill him), but he shows up to talk to Acting Lieutenant Chee about an eleven-year-old missing person case and a recent skeleton found on a sacred mountain. Then an old Navajo guide from Canyon de Chelly is shot several times in a murder attempt and Leaphorn begins to put the two together because of the circumstances of the disappearance of the missing person. There are lots of other things going on an misdirecti ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was given a pile of Tony Hillerman books and am working my way through them happily. This is the traditional Hillerman, involving of Navajo customs and beliefs, and intereting characters. Who knew that when you arrive at a remote home in a sparsely settled part of the country it's polite to sit in the car for several minutes until the residents acknowledge your presence and you can get out of the car and greet them? Sounds reasonable to me. For that matter, who knew what a brand inspector is a ...more
Mar 06, 2014 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started off at a glacial pace and ended like an avalanche. Overall, it was more dour and, frankly, depressing than other Jim Chee/Lt. Leaphorn novels. Joe Leaphorn has retired. He feels bored and old. Jim is struggling with his relationship to his girlfriend, who has her feet in two worlds. The setting is winter in Navajo country, which is described in a cold, grey manner. However, the story turns to the positive with the ending focused on teamwork, friendship and respect as well as so ...more
Apr 15, 2015 Sep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Chee and the "legendary" Joe Leaphorn work together to solve the mystery of a missing mountain climber whose bones are discovered 10 or 11 years after his disappearance. On the romantic front Bernie Manueleto makes an early appearance while Janet Pete and Jim struggle to untangle themselves from an impossible relationship. The various Navaho characters are delightful as is the scenery especially Ship Rock.
Nov 12, 2015 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: WPL Tues Book Discussion
Shelves: fiction
This one is a good lesson in the theory of "right time, right place" when it comes to books. I was supposed to read this months ago for book club and got about 1/3 of the way through it and just didn't care about it at all. Started it over again a couple days ago and breezed right through.

That said, I really just don't care for mysteries that much and this one feels very dated. The characters are pretty flat, although I understand that the same folks show up in most of this Hillerman series so I
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Tony Hillerman, who was born in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma, was a decorated combat veteran from World War II, serving as a mortarman in the 103rd Infantry Division and earning the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. Later, he worked as a journalist from 1948 to 1962. Then he earned a Masters degree and taught journalism from 1966 to 1987 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, wh ...more
More about Tony Hillerman...

Other Books in the Series

Leaphorn & Chee (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Blessing Way (Leaphorn & Chee, #1)
  • Dance Hall of the Dead (Leaphorn & Chee, #2)
  • Listening Woman (Leaphorn & Chee, #3)
  • People of Darkness (Leaphorn & Chee, #4)
  • The Dark Wind (Leaphorn & Chee, #5)
  • The Ghostway (Leaphorn & Chee, #6)
  • Skinwalkers (Leaphorn & Chee, #7)
  • A Thief of Time (Leaphorn & Chee, #8)
  • Talking God (Leaphorn & Chee, #9)
  • Coyote Waits (Leaphorn & Chee, #10)

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