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The Sacred Bridge: 10/10/22
The Sacred Bridge by Anne Hillerman (2022) is the twenty-fifth book of the Navajo mystery series (also known as the Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito series).
Jim Chee has reached a point in his life where he realizes he needs to make changes to regain his sense of hozho. To begin this process, he's traveled to Lake Powell to see the Rainbow Bridge. While there he discovers a murdered man floating in the lake.
Meanwhile Bernie is witness to a brutal and intentional hit and run murder of a Chinese man on the highway leading to Window Rock. His death leads to her going undercover at a new hemp farm.
Both Hillermans have their strengths and weaknesses as authors. For Tony, originator of the series, he was great at building a complex but reader-solvable puzzle, but he relied to heavily on setting up the Diné characters as others in their own nation. Anne meanwhile is vastly superior at treating all her characters like well rounded, fully realized people but her mysteries never connect into one interesting puzzle. Instead, Anne's mysteries read like straight up police procedurals — think Law and Order Dinétah. I miss Tony's puzzles in the newest books even though I otherwise love how Anne has fleshed out the characters and landscape.
The other problem with the series is time itself. The series is fifty-two years old but neither author has ever come out to just admit that time doesn't work like it does in reality because it's fun to keep the characters in the present but have them age more slowly.