- The Ghostway (1984)
- Skinwalkers (1986)
- A Thief of Time (1988)
- Talking God (1989)
- Coyote Waits (1990)
While the first five books of this series were an average of 3.5*, the next set moved firmly into the 4* range. In Skinwalkers, Leaphorn reappears on the scene, and throughout the next four books, both men are involved in the mystery solving, although not always as a team – it’s interesting to have them sometimes almost opposing because of their different styles of detecting, and their different beliefs about the old ways. The personableness of both characters vastly improved during this group of books, with more about their family lives and backgrounds, leaving me a lot more interested in them as people as well as interested in the mysteries themselves.
The actually mysteries were solid and did a decent job of wrapping things up. Hillerman does a good job of talking about nuanced topics without it feeling preachy. For instance, the entirety of Talking God is about ancient Native American artifacts and bones and managed to present varying viewpoints on whether old bones belong in museums or should be returned to modern Native Americans (even though in many instances there is not a direct oral history between them), and how archeological sites should be handled. It was all very interesting and thoughtfully done, but never came across as polemic or divisive.
All in all, I’m thoroughly enjoying these. The next five are in the pile waiting to be read, but that probably won’t happen until January as I am intending to fully embrace Christmasy reads all throughout December!!