The Fallen Man Mass Market Paperback – 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
First of all, the sun sets far to the south in autumn and the shadows stretch northeast. The only way I could explain this error is perhaps Hillerman placed the scene in the late spring in an earlier draft, then changed the season without changing other details. I was disappointed that Hillerman didn't catch this.
In Roswell, New Mexico, I watch the summer sun set behind El Capitan Mountain that sits on the most northern point of the suns path through the sky. El Capitan looks like a pyramid and acts as a buffer from the strong rays of the setting sun. As the sun travels back to the south on the western horizen in the fall, I am very aware of its position because it shines right in my face as I drive home. That is first hand knowledge for you.
This small detail might not be important to a lot of people, but it was a glaring (forgive the pun) error on the writer's part.
There seem to be two ways Hal Breedlove could have died, and it is no accident that they hinge on Eldon Demott's accounting for it. If he is lying, then he probably would have stranded his friend on the ledge. That would account for the intact bones. Yet the rock is not so isolated, as even the book suggests, that no one could have heard his cries; moreover it is possible to die from a fall without breaking bones--due to internal injuries, brain damage, etc.
Add to this Elisa Breedlove's recounting of her brother's genuine-looking shock and the weight comes down in favor of Demott's explanation. The author's decision not to break Hal Breedlove's bones, on the other hand, is a little harder to understand. Halfway through the novel people are still qualifying their references to the "so-called" Fallen Man. This appears to allow Leaphorn and Demott to develop their Biblical allusion, my only complaint being that it is done to no purpose. Hillerman has always taken pains to characterize the clash between cultures, Navajo and white, but here he seems to pull back from his own terrain.
Not to put too fine a point on it the Biblical "Fall" is, after all, a choice of knowledge over blissful ignorance, and Lieutenant Leaphorn's private objection, in Chapter 17, to Demott's simplistic analysis hardly constitutes presence of this moral theme. The lack may easily have spilled over, undermining the otherwise vintage resolution of the subplot, both cases only proving what is no mystery: that two negatives don't make a positive.
In The fallen Man we see a routine reopening of an eleven-year-old routine disappearance. Enter Chee, newly promoted lieutenant, and Joe Leaphorn, newly
retired tribal police chief.
As the plot unfolds, we get typical Hillerman. He paints superb descriptions of the Southwest's breathtaking beauty. His vivid snowstorms leave the reader shivering in the comfort of the living room lamplight. He writes of Navaho culture, traditions, and life on the reservation with respect and dignity. (Protocol requires that Chee remain in his car a few minutes after driving into the yard of a Navaho in order to give the residents time to prepare for visitors. An upside down old boot on a fence post tells a visitor no one is home.) His protagonists are not heroic, nor even unusual--just quietly efficient, even while following false leads in majestic mountains amid views that "stretch away forever."
Perhaps not the bone-chilling terror of the King/Koontz genre, but still exciting and suspenseful .
Chuck Lang, Sun City, Arizona
Most recent customer reviews
Looks like a skeleton of a climber was found on a ledge on Ship Rock. Could this solve the mystery of a person missing for many years? Read morePublished on July 23 2006 by B. Chandler
This book was immensly boring. I feel utterly stupid for having wasted my time reading this blithering mass of mindless jargon. Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2001 by Bill Cathrow
This is a detective novel, with a cultural twist that I found entertaining. The addition of insights into the Navajo culture clearly enhanced this book and made it into something... Read morePublished on July 18 2000 by M. Ben-Menachem
It was so nice to catch up with Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee again that the story was almost secondary. Read morePublished on March 23 1999 by N. Sausser
Who would have thought that Hillerman could disappoint so greatly? The ending of this book is so murky that it is impossible to figure out what happened. Read morePublished on Feb. 28 1999
I read The Fallen Man with great anticipation and was not disappointed. Hillerman's new developments with Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn brought great satisfaction. Read morePublished on Dec 2 1998
Like other reviewers I needed a Hillerman fix, especially after the disappointing Finding Moon. but I found Fallen Man to be confusing (like others) and poorly edited. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 1998
I don't know how I was able to refrain myself from tossing this book into my fireplace. It was full of inconsistencies and thoroughly boring. One star is being generous.Published on Aug. 18 1998