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Thursday, December 26, 2013

DANCE HALL of the DEAD (Joe Leaphorn #2) (audiobook) by Tony Hillerman


Originally published in 1973.
Audiobook version released in 2005 by Harper Audio.
Read by George Guidall.
Duration: Approximately 6 hours.
Unabridged.

Winner of the 1974 Edgar Award, Dance Hall of the Dead is an early entry in the Leaphorn series and is one of the best.

Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police is called into a case that technically occurred on the Zuni reservation but there is a Navajo involved. Ernesto Cata, a middle school-aged Zuni boy and his friend George Bowlegs are missing. All that is left behind is an immense amount of blood that makes it clear that one or both of the boys died. Joe is brought in by the FBI who is coordinating a joint FBI/Zuni/Navajo task force to find the boys.

Leaphorn has the feeling that the Zunis think the Navajo boy killed the Zuni boy and he has just been brought in to lead a manhunt as far as the Zunis are concerned. The FBI makes it clear that they think it is related to drug trafficking and they think the boys were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Leaphorn thinks that it might be best to learn all he can about George Bowlegs and then try to figure out what happened to them. Leaphorn's investigation leads him to George's pathetic drunken father and George's miserable family life, a group of hippies that have moved into an abandoned Navajo property and a professional archaeological dig site looking into a theory about Folsom Man.

The more he digs, the more interesting things that Leaphorn finds out about young George Bowlegs and the more interesting ideas he has about what may have happened to Ernesto Cata and George Bowlegs...

As I said before, this is one of the better Leaphorn novels and would make a fine place to start into the series of you are new to it. The reader is introduced to the Zuni and Navajo cultures as well as getting a first-class mystery.

George Guidall read this audiobook. He has read most, if not all, of the Leaphorn and Leaphorn/Chee audiobooks. He has a solid feel for the series and his pacing suits its unique landscape and mood.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.
Reviewed on December 26, 2013.

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