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Skeleton Man

Title: Skeleton Man
Author: Tony Hillerman
Year First Published: 2010
Page Count: 320

In 1956, an airplane crash left the remains of 172 passengers scattered among the majestic cliffs of the Grand Canyon—including an arm attached to a briefcase containing a fortune in gems. Half a century later, one of the missing diamonds has reappeared . . . and the wolves are on the scent.

Former Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is coming out of retirement to help exonerate a slow, simple kid accused of robbing a trading post. Billy Tuve claims he received the diamond he tried to pawn from a mysterious old man in the canyon, and his story has attracted the dangerous attention of strangers to the Navajo lands—one more interested in a severed limb than in the fortune it was handcuffed to; another willing to murder to keep lost secrets hidden. But nature herself may prove the deadliest adversary, as Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee follow a puzzle—and a killer—down into the dark realm of Skeleton Man.

Profanity Violence Sexual Content
Only a few minor usages of slang terms Hillerman isn't great at writing action sequences, but he doesn't have to be None
Characterization Plot Overall Rating
Rich, vivid characters. A little more straightforward than some of Hillerman's other works, but still very good. Worth reading more than twice!
There is a reason Tony Hillerman is widely considered to be the best mystery writer of all time. His characters are easy to relate to in spite of being police. The plot is a little more straightforward and geared more toward suspense. I defy you to put it down. Skeleton Man is on par with--if not better than--early Hillerman works such as A Thief of Time and Dance Hall of the Dead. I've already read it twice and plan to do so again.


Focus Legal/Crime Setting North America
Main Character Male Setting Small Town
Main Character Police Time Period Contemporary
Main Character Adult Time Period Past
Number of pages 200-300 Type Suspense
Readability Moderate

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