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Skinwalkers (Leaphorn & Chee #7)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  9,627 Ratings  ·  324 Reviews
Three shotgun blasts explode into the trailer of Officer Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police. But Chee survives to join partner Lt. Joe Leaphorn in a frightening investigation that takes them into a dark world of ritual, witchcraft, and blood--all tied to the elusive and evil "skinwalker." Brimming with Navajo lore and sizzling suspense, "Skinwalkers" brings Chee and Leap ...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published March 1st 1990 by Turtleback Books (first published 1986)
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Lauri Saplad Yup! I am. I think each book stands alone, but you'd probably get more about the culture if you read in order
Lauri Saplad No spoilers! But they never give the person a name, you just have to figure it out....
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Bobby Underwood
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Those looking for a great mystery series who have yet to discover Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are in for a treat with Skinwalkers. Tony Hillerman created an entire genre with these novels. Though they've been copied, no one has ever quite blended Native American beliefs and traditions, with modern day mystery in the same entertaining way at which Hillerman was so skilled.

Skinwalkers is one of Hillerman's finest pairings of young Navajo Tribal Police Officer, Jim Chee, and the legendary Lt. Joe Lea
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Leaphorn was a hotshot. But Leaphorn was wrong about this.

This was a good, exciting entry in Hillerman's Navajo Mystery series. (#7). People are being killed in various ways on the reservation with no apparent rhyme or reason. Who's doing this and why?

The book opens particularly well in a long and exciting sequence that basically ends with Jim Chee's cat saving his life. The cat becomes quite a character in this book.

Jim Chee has a Navajo view of animals and hates interfering with them, but h
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2016-reads
Skinwalkers is a real page turner. This is my first dip into Hillerman's mystery series featuring Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police. I know absolutely nothing about Navajo culture and next to nothing about the tribe's history so I can't vouch for the authenticity of Hillerman's book but I can testify that this was highly entertaining and the mystery of was suitably tricky (I sort of guessed who might be involved but I had no idea how it could have been done). Lots ...more
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, male-lead
Enjoyed it. As usual, nice description of the landscape and setting. Leaphorn is particularly distracted by his wife's medical issues. Chee is less distracted by his female friends than normal, as things are ending with Mary and he skirmishes professionally with Janet. Suspenseful plot.
May 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Am just beginning yet another mystery that will be totally engrossing....

And I finished reading this book I was thinking yes, it was totally engrossing! Initially, Officer Jim Chee is shot in his trailer. As the story continues, Chee begins working with Lieutneant Leaphorn on a murder investigation. This is no ordinary murder investigation - it is one that involves Navajo skinwalkers! As you are reading their journey through their investigation, you learn about what the Navajo beliefs are on wit
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a murder mystery in years, probably not since I was into Agatha Christie as a teenager, but, after reading Hillerman's Skinwalkers, I might start reading more. Hillerman is clearly a master of setting, with the gathering storm in the southwestern desert reflecting the gathering momentum of the unsolved murders at hand on the Navajo Reservation. I liked both Chee and Leaphorn as the two police officers tackling the case of three seemingly unrelated homicides; they were smart, level ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee meet up in this thriller. Each of these 2 law enforement officers are dealing with their spouses having difficult times. For Leaphorn's Emma, doctors fear she may have Alzheimer's disease while Jim Chee's Mary Landon remains in Wisconsin to go to graduate school. Leaphorn and Chee must also team up to find the common thread in a series of four murders. Leaphorn and Chee both suffer gunshot wounds. Chee's far more serious than Leaphorns. A lightening fast reading 300 pag ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice quick mystery about witching and the people that are convinced to do one person's killing in the name of witchery. The ultimate reason for the killings is one of the oldest motives in the book and Chee and Leaphorn do figure it out...almost too late for Chee but since there are so many others in this series I'm not giving anything away to say that Chee survives to work another case or two.
The suspense factor was perfect!!!!!!
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The tension in this one grew and grew as the pages turned...and the ending was surprising and breathtaking. Hillerman delivers again!
Mar 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys murder mysteries and/or Navajo culture
Recommended to Susan by: book club read
Shelves: adult-fiction
I don't usually read murder mysteries, but I guess that is the point of book clubs to get you to read what you normally wouldn't. I found this particular mystery to be well written, just enough plot to keep me interested in the homicide cases that develop between two officers of the Navajo Tribal Poilce, Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee.

Both of these men are main characters in other Tony Hillerman novels, but he brings them together in this multiple homicide thriller about the dark and sin
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two conscientious Tribal police work to solve several apparently unrelated murders before one of them is killed by the perpetrator. The young, impulsive and spiritual Jim Chee teams up with the experienced, methodical and superstition-hating Joe Leaphorn.
Like a nonfundamentalist Christian, Chee believed in the poetic metaphor of the Navajo story of human genesis. Without believing in the specific Adam's rib, or the size of the reed through with the Holy People emerged to the Earth Surface World,
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read mystery novels to unwind. Someone had left one of this series, Coyote Waits, in the place we were staying in New Mexico, and since it's set locally I thought I'd read it. So, have now discovered another good author! Have now also read a couple of the other novels in the series and will read more (only problem with them is I get the titles mixed up). They're not spectacular literature, but they remind me of the desert Southwest - kind of like Nevada Barr, only not quite as descriptive - yo ...more
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm pretty sure I read most of these early books in the Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee mysteries, but it's been many years and I don't remember much for details. I enjoyed this one a lot! Leaphorn and Chee are just getting to know one another as they investigate several deaths that are somehow connected, but they can't quite get a handle on how or why. Leaphorn also believes the attempt on Chee's life--someone pumped three shotgun blasts into his trailer where he should have been sleeping--is tied in ...more
I never thought I'd say this, but oh my word, this book made me homesick! I loved that Skinwalkers explored the the Southwest in a way that felt both really familiar, but also exposed me to details of Navajo culture that were new and fascinating. Tony Hillerman's obvious respect for the Navajo is evident throughout the book, but he doesn't romanticize his view and portrays realistic struggles of reservation life.

The mystery is perfectly paced and the detectives compliment each other in really a
Quickly-paced, engaging whodunit that provided an engaging introduction to lead characters Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. Suspect I'll be reading more of this series.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book, I continue to love Hillerman's books.
Lauri Saplad
Excellent but strange story set in the Navajo nation. Officer Jim Chee is being stalked by someone who believes he's a witch. The Navajo take witchcraft very seriously and there are a series of related murders. Mr. Hillerman does a great job with the native culture and traditions as well as describing the desert and reservation terrain.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really find this series fascinating. The Indian culture and the Four Corners area is so well described and I feel that not only did I read a great novel, but I learn so much with each book. I do suggest that they be read in order.
This was a fun little who-done-it mystery novel. What makes it different from CSI Miami (or whatever crime drama the kids are watching these days - I don't really pay attention to such things) is that it's set in the world of a Navajo reservation. Although Hillerman himself is not Navajo, he did extensive research to capture the essence of the Navajo culture. Not knowing much about the Navajo culture myself, from an outsider's perspective, he did an excellent job.

Only three stars because I found
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally, in "Skinwalkers (Navajo Mysteries 7)," Hillerman begins the process of bringing his two protagonists together. Whereas in Hilllerman’s first three Navajo Mystery novels, Lt. Joe Leaphorn is the main character; the next three – books 4, 5, & 6, introduce Sgt. Jim Chee, a young reservation law enforcement officer who struggles to find balance between the traditional ways of the Navajo and the white man's world. A standoffish relationship is seen between the two Navajo Policemen; they ...more
Cale Gregory
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My love of this mystery novel comes not from the story itself, which I found somewhat trite and uninspired, nor from the setting (I have no vast outpouring of love for the wild places of this land). Rather, my enjoyment of this novel comes strictly from the vast fodder for literary discussion it can engender.

This book was one of several novels read for a class I took in which we discussed mystery novels. The basic storyline goes as follows:

Two Navajo police officers are on the hunt for someone w
To be honest, the crime/mystery portion of this book was pretty weak - it was badly paced, and mostly our protagonists just spent a lot of time wandering around before the whole thing dissolved into a random shootout at the end.

But, with that said, I'm really glad a friend talked me into trying Hillerman, because here's the thing: you don't actually read these books for the police procedurals - you read them because he is absolutely brilliant at describing the setting.

Hillerman's mysteries are s
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mother had been telling me to give Tony Hillerman a chance for years, and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed this little book, for the most part. It's engaging in an older style, with a plot that progresses in its own time and doesn't really hurry, but is interesting enough that you don't feel the need to rush through it.

This is the first pairing of Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee. A series of seemingly unconnected murders (plus the attempted murder of Chee) bring these two policemen together to
Morgan Mussell
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Officer Jim Chee, of the Navajo Tribal Police, tosses and turns one night in the airstream where he lives in the desert. When his closest neighbor, a feral cat, shoots through the pet door, Chee gets up to peer out the window at what might have scared it so badly. Probably a coyote, he thinks. For a moment, thinks he sees a shape in the darkness. Then the night explodes. Three shotgun blasts tear holes in the trailer just above the bed where Chee was sleeping moments before.

In the morning, as he
"Skinwalkers" is the 7th novel in Tony Hillerman's "Leaphorn & Chee" series. It's also the first book featuring both Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee at the same time. Surprisingly, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. All the good Hillerman qualities are there. But, there were a few things that bothered me. First, Hillerman has gotten Leaphorn promoted up to mostly desk work. He does some field work, but a lot of his activity in the book is dedicated to management. It's not a bad thing, ...more
Douglas Lord
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the 7th of Hillerman’s 18 well-received novels in the Chee / Leaphorn series, and chronologically the first in their relationship. Unlike much of today’s crap, each book can be read alone. Jim Chee is a young, college-educated Navajo. He’s a professional cop and a novice Navajo priest. Joe Leaphorn is the long-serving Chief of Police on the Reservation, completely devoted to his job and his wife. After an unknown assailant takes a shot at Chee, he and Leaphorn make the link between that ...more
Ken Kugler
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Skinwalkers, by Tony Hillerman, was a really enjoyable read. I did not know until a couple of days ago that both main characters had already been introduced by way of three books featuring each separately for a total of six books.
Skinwalkers is a bringing together of its two main characters, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. The story opens up with three shotgun blasts into Jim Chee's trailer. Lt. Joe Leaphorn wants to know why Jim Chee was the target. LT. Leaphorn thinks that people almost all the ti
The reason I read Tony Hillerman mysteries is not so much for the mystery part, I read them because I want to be on the reservation and see what he is seeing and try to understand, through his eyes, what it is like and what the people are like. I love the way he describes the sky, the weather, the mountains and I always want to understand Navajo ways, what is good manners and what is not, how things are done. His settings seem to ring with truth. I haven't been there and am not part of that nati ...more
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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 22 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)
  • A Thief of Time (Leaphorn & Chee, #8)
  • Talking God (Leaphorn & Chee, #9)
  • Coyote Waits (Leaphorn & Chee, #10)
  • Sacred Clowns (Leaphorn & Chee, #11)