This book was a gift from my mom who inspired our trip to Ship Rock, New Mexico. She's read every Toni Hillerman book out there. His first book published in the 70s, but Coyote Waits was written later on in the 90s. Some say it's his best work of all, but others argue he has better ones. After reading this spectacular murder mystery I aim to find out what his very best truly is.
I saw some irony in this book as the author painted such a clear picture and feeling of a particular landscape and it's people so well. It compared to a major factor in his plot to catch a mischievous painter of rocks -a vandal if you will. Finding this illusive criminal might lead the main character into knowing who shot and killed his partner. It might even go back to a story lost in time.
Tony Hillerman, the author, so effortlessly created in my mind an airy yet dusty space in the Southwest that someone who has never been could surely imagine. He painted the New Mexican landscape exactly as I saw it with jagged, volcanic peaks dramatizing a minimalistic background of muted sand, grasses and clear blue skies. All while entertaining you with a good "who done it?".
Though the story was of a murder to be solved by the tribal police out in the Navajo Nation, I found it to be more a story of a people and their mixed cultural beliefs and ways of life. As you get to the scene of an elder tribe member rocking in his wooden chair acting as an informant to the tribal police you might find yourself as well sitting in the corner hearing the gossip while smelling the burnt, day old coffee. It's a story one might consider to be a light read turned more complex once you've stewed upon all its facets. Like the clearest quartz crystal when held to the sun you will then be able to see all of its inclusions.
(Ugh, here is the part where I must give it a rating. This is so hard as I am one person with my own perspective. ⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Watch our latest video here: