(P)1986 by The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.
"High entertainment...An aesthetically satisfying glimpse of the still-powerful tribal mysteries." (The New Yorker)
I noticed the obituaries of Tony Hillerman in the papers earlier this year, and was intrigued by the descriptions of his work. I'd never heard of him, but I like crime books, especially ones that aren't too gruesome, and have visited the western US a few times - not Arizona, where this is set, but it's similar enough landscape to Utah and Colorado for me to be able to imagine it. Not that you'd need to have been there to enjoy it - he does a terrific job of making you feel like you're right there.
The book has an excellent plot that keeps you guessing until quite near the end, and Joe Leaphorn, the detective, is an intriguing character who manages to be compelling even though he reveals virtually nothing about himself.
The descriptions of Zuni ritual and customs are engaging and never degenerate into travelogue or local colour. I'm no expert on lit-crit so when I realised the book was essentially about the nature of taboo (and not just of the Zunis) I realised what a clever writer Hillerman is, to take a big topic like that and yet not make it over-dramatic.
As a book, it's ideal for audio listening as it's written day by day so divides into short sections which are easy to listen to without getting lost. It's been skilfully abridged and there's none of that 'whoops, there goes another carefully crafted sub-plot' feeling that you sometimes get with abridgements. The actor who reads it, Michael Ansara, is excellent, giving just the right laconic delivery for Leaphorn.
All in all, I really enjoyed it and it's a shame that none of Hillerman's other titles are available on Audible (and if they are offered, it would be nice to have a choice of some unabridged versions too).
If you like old-fashioned crime, Westerns, or books by Kinky Friedman, you will definitely enjoy this.
Tony Hillerman writes the kind of story I enjoy--sympathetic, thoughtful stories with characters that you can enjoy getting to know. I have read all his fiction and would love to see more of them on audiobooks. In addition to a good read or listen for the story itself, Tony Hillerman opens up a world few people get to see--a genuine insight into contemporary Native American cultures in the southwest of the United States.
I would very much recomend Tony Hillerman audiobooks. George Guidall narrates the unabridged versions and they are great. It's great to get books even fiction that deal with native americans as more than something out of a cowboy film or dances with wolves.
"Pace was off"
The problem with an abridged book is that it lacks the depth that a good author can give in a full length treatment. That was clearly the case here. Other than that, it was a pleasant experience.
Why no other books by Hillerman at Audible.com?
"wished it was longer"
Always enjoy these books - just wish they were longer.
"Dancehall of the Dead"
Hillerman is an easy read and has a pleasant way he approaches his characters. This is the first book I have listened to but have read 6 or 7 and they are just as good anyway you take them. I would like to see more audibles done as I don't mind listening over and over. I highly recommend him to anyone who enjoys a good wholesome story with intrigue and down to earth approaches.
This is a wonderful mystery that is both clear and easy to listen to and keep up with. I'm a big fan of Hillerman, and hope that many more of his books will be available on Audible!
"Great story, good narration, poor production"
I love Hillerman and Michael Ansara did a good job of bringing the story to live with voice characterizations. I was disappointed by the sound quality and uneveness in production. It definitely detracted from an otherwise excellent book narrated with a memorable voice. Accordingly, I was disappointed overall and wouldn't have purchased this audiobook had I know of the issues in the recording.
Not a bad book but I had to start listening three times due to the painfully monotone narration. Would be a pretty good listen if they re-did it.
"A good mystery"
I read this book years back & completely forgot how it unfolded but enjoyed it!
"Bought without noticing"
abridged and not read by George Guidal. Would have purchased if not for these reasons. But i did and that's that. Have gotten George Guidal version since.
"Lousy abridged version"
I only buy abridged books by mistake. Made a mistake and bought this one. So it was already bad. Then this particular abridged version was terrible. Looks like they paid no attention to anything but the length and just chopped stuff out willy nilly. Shame on me for buying this lousy version of a good story. Don't you make the same mistake.
Don't even sell abridged books in the first place!
"Worst reading ever"
Couldn't listen to the book. Michael Ansara's reading was so hard on the ears that it made listening unbearable. His "sssssssss" is like a high-pitched whistle. The book may be excellent, but I guess I'll never know.
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