David Cain's Reviews > The Shape Shifter

The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman
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's review
May 04, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011
Read in May, 2011

This was an enjoyable book that didn't quite live up to its potential. Perhaps if it were twice as long, the additional detail would make up for the minor shortcomings sprinkled throughout the work's structure. Not so much of a mystery, but more of a suspense thriller. There were few misdirections and it was easy to guess how things were going to turn out relatively early in the narrative. The broad variety of plot elements (Indian weaving history, Navajo and Hmong religious beliefs, Vietnam war activities, etc) was certainly interesting, although the disparate elements were, for the most part, never really integrated in a convincing and coherent way. The ending felt rushed, and many of the important plot elements were completely ignored at the conclusion. That said, it was still a fun story. My wife and I listened to the unabridged audiobook as we drove from southeast Utah to northern Colorado. It was a lot of fun to hear about the Four Corners locations as we drove through that same environment. George Guidall provides an excellent narration - his voice is clear, interesting, and he pronounces most of the Navajo words convincingly (though he is perhaps a bit less accurate with the Hmong pronunciations). I had never heard of this series before, and did not even know until afterward that this book was even part of a series, let alone the eighteenth book. It certainly works on its own merits, and can be enjoyed even if you've never read any of the previous volumes.
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