Hillerman was as good a raconteur out loud as he was on the page

The first crime fiction convention panel I was ever on was moderated by Tony Hillerman and it ruined me for any panel I was on afterward because he was as good a raconteur out loud as he was on the page. This collection of Tony’s articles and tales is proof positive, from the hilarious title story of the bank robbery that wasn’t up to the failed saga of Reies Lopez Tijerina to return lands to the impoverished heirs of Spanish land grants. And the one about the 1961 almost outbreak of the bubonic plague in New Mexico should have been required reading in the White House in 2017.

Recommended whether or not you like his crime fiction novels, and if you don’t, why don’t you? The first chapter of Skinwalkers is hands down an example of the best writing in the genre or, hell, the English language.

Book Review Monday Chatter

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

15 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Once I had read Hillerman’s Leaphorn/Chee novels, I was spoiled for almost anyone else (came much later to you). His writing was eloquent in its directness, evocative of the Western landscape of his settings and instructive about the people.

    • I will never forget Jim Chee laying in bed, listening to the cat trying to get in and trying to figure out if the universe would be okay with him getting up to open the door. And then—

  2. I think he was such an interesting person and a great descriptive writer. You could close your eyes while listening to any of the Leaphorn and Chee novels, and feel the hot sun on your back.

  3. I have read all of Hillerman and am now reading his daughter’s books as she continues his work!!!! They are both so very exceptional.

  4. You are right! I loved hearing him. And I love all the Chee, Leaphorn, Manuelito stories but my favorite is Finding Moon. I could listen to that one over and over – read by Jay O Sanders. I have that book in hardcover, paperback, cassette tapes (!) and audio cd’s. I have even consulted a map that includes Vietnam as well as the Philippines and that area of the world to see where Moon Mathias was traveling to find what needed to find – and ended up finding himself.

  5. I have read all of the Tony Hillerman books – love them. Another situation where I was so sad when I finished the books. And I have read some more than once. As I have yours, Dana. 😁👍

  6. I live in the Southwest, and I reread Tony and Anne regularly. The desert, the characters, the story, all have become a part of me. He was an exceptional writer and its so amazing that his daughter picked up his legacy and is now making it her own.

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