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Song of the Lion

(Leaphorn & Chee #21)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  6,332 ratings  ·  820 reviews
A deadly bombing takes Navajo Tribal cops Bernadette Manuelito, Jim Chee, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, back into the past to find a vengeful killer in this riveting Southwestern mystery from the bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock with Wings

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bern
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Harper
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  6,332 ratings  ·  820 reviews

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Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Everything in balance. He smiled. The Navajo Way.

But something is definitely off kilter when a bomb explodes in the parking lot at Shiprock High School during a popular basketball game. Although off-duty, Officer Bernie Manuelito takes charge and keeps the anxious crowd at bay. She comes across a young male victim on the ground near a burned out car. Near death, he struggles to breathe and leaves no clues as to his identity.

The owner of the demolished car, Aza Palmer, shows up. Palmer is a partn
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it

In this 21st book in the 'Leaphorn and Chee' series, detectives Bernadette Manuelito and Jim Chee take center stage when a businessman is targeted by killers. The book can be read as a standalone


The alumni basketball game at New Mexico's Shiprock High School always draws a big crowd, and Navajo Police Officer Bernadette Manuelito (Bernie) is on hand to watch the teams play.

An explosion in the parking lot draws Bernie outside, where she sees a car in flames.

Bernie calls for backup, and the
Hillerman is really getting her stride in her approach to continuing her father’s wonderful series about cases of the Navaho tribal police in New Mexico. Jim Chee, now a sergeant and less of a Boy Scout, still gets a lot of air time, while his old mentor Captain Leaphorn, from his position of retirement and partial debilitation from getting shot in the head, provides sage advice to him when he seeks it out. What Hillerman brings to the table is full appropriation and extended development of the ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Anne Hillerman’s story features tribal police officer Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito, who is married to Sgt. Jim Chee. Her mentor is Joe Leaphorn who is recovering from a head injury. Bernie attends a Shiprock High School basketball game while she is off duty. A car is bombed in the parking lot and Bernie is the first on scene. The car belongs to Aza Palmer, an attorney who is the official mediator between the Native American tribes, the environmentalists and a corporation who wants to build a re ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
In respect for her father, Tony, I gave her third novel a chance, but I am done. The book was mind numbingly boring until the last 30 pages, and by then I had already figured out who was behind it all. I only finished the book because I felt I had to in order to count it toward my yearly total. Don't waste your time. ...more
Barb in Maryland
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read the blurb--it's a good one, so I am not going to do any kind of plot re-cap.
It is always good to visit with Bernadette Manuelito, her husband, Jim Chee and the Legendary Lieutenant, Joe Leaphorn. I really like these people.
Anne Hillerman gives us a nice twisty mystery as well as a close up look at life on the Navajo lands of New Mexico and Arizona. The clues are all there--they just need to be recognized and connected. The light bulb went on for me just about the same time it did for Leapho
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read every book by Tony Hillerman, learning about the Navajo traditions through these wonderful mystery novels. Sadly, Tony has passed on, but his daughter Anne has brought back the beloved characters, Chee, Leaphorn, and Manuelito. She is a gifted writer as well, evoking the unique ambiance of the American Southwest with a captivating mystery and well-developed characters in The Song of the Lion. I just couldn’t put it down—highly recommended!

Several years later, I decided to listen to the
Chris Conley
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How lovely that Anne Hillerman has taken characters her dad created and keep them alive. This book is wonderful. The mystery is sharply drawn and resolved in a way that works so very well. I am loving this series.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another disappointing edition to the Manuelito saga. It has become her story and that of her family while Chee and Leaphorn are just there for their names.
Craig Monson
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Anne Hillerman’s latest mystery is very timely indeed. In the real world (as opposed to the fictional world), the Dinee tribal government, which after decades of spurning casinos had finally succumbed to the enticements of that supposed cash cow about a decade ago, has nevertheless just REJECTED the financial enticements of the so-called “Grand Canyon Escalade.” Controversy surrounding that elaborate venture, which would have added a tramway, a hotel and other tourist amenities to the Grand Cany ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved Tony Hillerman's mysteries set in the austere beauty of the American Southwest's Navajo country, and his daughter is carrying on his tradition with equal talent. (What's the old saying? "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Seems apropos in this case, and the tree is a strong one.)

If you choose to read this mystery series, I would advise doing so in the order they have been written, as the characters become older and wiser through-out their lives, maintaining some friendships and r
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another great novel from Anne Hillerman! Aside from a good mystery set against a background of Navajo culture and the rugged beauty of the American Southwest, I really like the way this author handles the "romantic" side of her stories. Without resorting to "sex scenes" she conveys the love and affection that Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito have for one another in a way that adds to the story and takes nothing away from it. In my experience this is unusual and I consider it a mark of a very go ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Anne is definitely not her dad. The poetry, the simplicity that mad Tony's prose so hypnotic and soothing is completely absent here. And the mystery just isn't that good. ...more
Book Concierge
Digital Audiobook performed by Christina Delaine

After her father, Tony Hillerman, died, Anne Hillerman took up the series he had begun and continued it. This is book # 21 in the Leaphorn & Chee mystery series (Book # 5 in Anne’s continuation called The Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito series), set on the Navajo nation in Arizona and New Mexico.

The action begins at a basketball game where team rivalries have brought out a large crowd. Then a car explodes in the high school parking lot, killing
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
(FIRST READ) I thoroughly enjoyed Anne Hillerman’s story about tribal police officer Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito, who is married to Sgt. Jim Chee. Her mentor is Joe Leaphorn who is recovering from a head injury. Bernie attends a Shiprock High School basketball game while she is off duty. A car is bombed in the parking lot and Bernie is the first on scene. The car belongs to Aza Palmer, an attorney who is the official mediator between the Native American tribes, the environmentalists and a corp ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Of the 3 books by Anne Hillerman, I think I liked this one the best...lots of interesting details, suspense and well tied together to make a satisfying ending , including the entrance of the Mountain Lion near the end of the story. We learn lots of interesting details about Navajos , Hopis and Paiutes etc.. Two details strike me. It would be nice if Bernie Manuelito could learn to improve her diet, before she develops Diabetes like Palmer and so many other indians. After all Grandfather gave his ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I loved Tony Hillerman novels in my 20s and 30, and his daughter Anne Hillerman, picks up where her father left off. The mysteries continue with Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito against the beautiful backdrop of rugged Arizona. The tenacity and heritage of Native Americans in and around the Grand Canyon is wonderfully captured in this mystery. The cast of characters and twists and turns make for an excellent plot.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately Anne Hillerman does not measure up to her father as a story teller in this episode. Poorly organized, poorly edited and way too much meaningless filler.
Peter Tillman
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this one a lot -- up until the end, which was (I thought) confused and unconvincing. This is the first of Anne Hillerman's Navajo mysteries that I've tried, and other readers feel it's the one where she hit her stride on carrying on her Dad's Leaphorn & Chee legacy. Indeed, she captures the feel of the old books well and updates it -- as always, read the publisher's summary first, nearby. She is very good at economically sketching supporting actors, and I liked Bernie Manuelito a lot - ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Officer Bernadette Manuelito is off-duty and attending a students-vs.-alumni basketball game when a car explodes in the parking lot. The plot keeps thickening as her husband, Jim Chee, is detailed as a bodyguard to the car's owner, a local boy made good who is the attorney mediating discussions about a proposed development at the Grand Canyon. Questions of family, the environment, and intertribal tensions come up in Bernie's investigation, and retired Lt. Joe Leaphorn consults and remembers the ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've given Anne Hillerman a try because I loved her father's books and characters. I wasn't crazy about the first two but this may be the last one. Slow moving and repetitive travelogue with little suspense or plot. By the end, I was ready to get rid of Palmer myself - he is so unpleasant and uncooperative that I could never be worried about his safety. Chee and Bernie keep making basic mistakes like rookies instead of the seasoned professionals they are supposed to be. And someone has to explai ...more
Michele Bond
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I believe Anne Hillerman does a credible job following in her father's footsteps with new Chee, Manualito, and Leaphorn. And don't forget Cowboy Dashee. I was so pleased to discover that more books were coming. The only thing that troubled me was so little written about the lion himself. A good read by an excellent storyteller! ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the previous Anne Hillerman Leaphorn/Chee novels, I was most impressed with her portrayal of Chee's wife, Bernie. In this one I was moved by the portrayal of an injured Leaphorn. I also loved that last Leaphorn line. ...more
This is a multiple POV (more like a third person and going to different people, I think) mystery thriller set on Navajo lands in Arizona; most of the POVs are Navajo. A car bomb resulting in a death sets of concern for the owner of the car--most likely the intended target--a lawyer who is set to act as a mediator in discussions over a possible commercial development project in the Grand Canyon. This is the first Leaphorn & Chee whodunnit I've ever read and it's #21, so I will be careful about na ...more
Garlan ✌
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm really enjoying Anne Hillerman's books. She picks up where her father left off, telling the stories of LT Leaphorn and Detectives Chee and Manuelito of the Navajo police. I can scarcely tell the difference between the two authors, although Anne does focus more heavily on Bernie Manuelito as the main focus of her novels rather than the two males. In any case, good police work, great descriptions of the American southwest, and always good personal stories that lead to a good finish. ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Anne's writing, for me, has improved a tremendous amount. I love the paragraph on page 229 where she speaks of language like her mother weaving a Navajo rug. Wow. I love learning the Navajo way. I grew up in Ajo, Arizona with Papago Indians. Unfortunately we were all segregated. We had an Indian Village, Mexican Town and you guess the rest. Even separate swimming pools for awhile. Only one error , though. You don't check your A1C yourself. That requires a blood draw and lab re ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
I love these books and Anne Hillerman has done a fantastic job.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman is an absolutely riveting mystery about a car bombing during an alumni basketball at Shiprock High School. Although this latest release is the twenty-first installment in the Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

Navajo Tribal Police Officer Bernadette "Bernie" Manuelito is off duty at the basketball game when she hears an explosion that sounds close by. Rushing to the parking lot, she discovers one of the vehicles has explode
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I think I might--dare I say it?--enjoy Anne Hillerman's work even more than her father's. And I loved his. Bernadette Manuelito is a terrific female protagonist in the mystery genre, unique for her approach, her devotion to family and, of course, her Navajo heritage. She's sharp, tough and tender. She seeks advice from Leaphorn, of course. Anne Hillerman does honor what her father built. At the same time, Bernadette really is on top of things. Her husband, Chee (aka Cheeseburger, as dubbed by Be ...more
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Anne Hillerman's newest book,"Spider Woman's Daughter" debuted at number 10 on the New York Times Best Seller list. The novel continues her father Tony Hillerman's popular Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn series. The book followed "Tony Hillerman's Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn," with photos by Don Strel of the country the renown mystery author visited in his novels. Her cookbook, "Santa Fe F ...more

Other books in the series

Leaphorn & Chee (1 - 10 of 25 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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“Bernie looked at the rock again. This time, she saw the shape of the náshdóítsoh, the mountain lion, a strong and important animal in the Diné Bahane’, the story of how The People came to be, the Navajo Old Testament. Náshdóítsoh symbolized protection and healing.” 0 likes
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