Tuesday, October 28, 2008
One of my Favorite Novelists has Died
This is not fly fishing related but I felt a need to mention that one of my favorite authors has passed away. Tony Hillerman creator of the popular mystery novels featuring Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police died on Sunday, October 26, 2008. He was 83. Hillerman lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico and used the Desert Southwest area as the backdrop to his novels. His love for the culture of native people of the area and the harshness of the land brought a certain flavor to his writing. Early on Hillerman was told by an agent that if he wanted to be a success at writing, he needed to drop the Indian stories. The fact that Hillerman became a best selling author by sticking to his genre, points to his ability to write and carry out a story with compelling characters, cultural understanding, enchanting scenery, and dialogue that carries the reader into the world Hillerman creates. Hillerman authored somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 novels with such best sellers as, Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, Talking God, A Thief of Time, Hunting Badger, Fallen Man, The First Eagle, The Ghostway, The Dark Wind, Skeleton Man and his last novel, Shape Shifter. Hillerman received the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Silver Spur Award for best novel set in the West, and his most cherished award, the Navajo Tribe's Special Friend Award. I have read every novel he wrote and often find myself reaching for them when I feel a need to escape and wander through the arid Southwest again.