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The Sinister Pig [Hardcover]

Tony Hillerman
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5 stars This little piggy went to market July 23 2006
By bernie TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Not quite the Hillerman formula but done well just the same. All our old friends are in this story and it looks like everything can get wrapped up if Hillerman decided would be his last. However it looks like there is at least one more novel and probably two. In this novel we get to be into the heads of the good guys and bad guys from the start as they banter around.

An ex-CIA spy with knowledge of the oil industry is sent to find out information on how oil companies bypass paying royalty money to the First Nations Trust Fund. He ends up committing suicide with a bullet in the back. Mean while way down south Bernie now with the U.S. Customs Service gets lost, goes off the map, and puts her foot in it.

Bernie's co-worker gets suspicious and tells Joe. Jim gets out some snaps; Joe gets out his maps; Bourbonette gets out the coffee and brains. They hold a committee to figure out what is happening.

Will Bernie smell what she stepped in, or just walk right in to her demise?

Will the cavalry arrive over the hill in time (does not look promising?)

Who or what is the "Sinister Pig?"
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4.0 out of 5 stars Why such diverging reviews? June 17 2003
This novel demonstrates the spare, elegant prose and tight plot that characterizes Hillerman at his best - as in Blessing Way or Dark Wind. Then too, the characters we have come to love, Jim Chee, Joe Leaphorn and even the interloping Cowboy Dashee as well as Jim Chee's latest heartbreaker, Bernie Manuelito, are center stage. So why the grousing. Perhaps Hillerman fans expected more fireworks after the two most recent clunkers. Or maybe, with the same cast in place, readers expected Hillerman to continue his exploration and exposition of the cultures of the native peoples of the southwest. But as Hillerman moves his action further south, he leaves much of the Navaho ethos behind, and the distinct customs of a people fade as the writer brings the Sonoran landscape to the foreground. Tellingly it is described as even more vacant, more of a vacuum of living things than the "Four Corners" setting of earlier novels. Bernie, now with the Customs Patrol carries extra plastic jugs of water in her vehicle, and she will need them as she discovers thirsty illegals stranded in the desert. Principal characters getting lost because of undistinguishable landmarks ( unthinkable on Navaho land ) leads more than once to important plot turns. Readers similarly may be exploring new and unfamiliar territory which is a bit more uncomfortable because of the presence of the familiar in different roles. If this is not classic Hillerman, it is still very good Hillerman, a differently focused Hillerman, and an entertaining read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A Thief of My Time... June 17 2003
It's quite clear that Tony Hillerman has squeezed the last ounce of blood from this turnip. You know he's run out of ideas for his venerable Native American heroes when he's more interested in the villains of the book than the cops.
This book, definitely the worst in the series, is as flat as a pancake from start to finish, with a "mystery" as complex as an Encyclopedia Brown story. Chee and Leaphorn have basically nothing to do in this story except pass on endless, awkward exposition. Side characters slide in and out with no real purpose. The only cop who Hillerman seems to be interested in, the fetching Bernie Manuelito, becomes a helpless pawn in a macho boy's game of drugs and power. Even Hillerman's trademark Ansel Adams-esque descriptions of the southwestern scenery seem minimized and irrelevant. Hillerman can't even figure out how to end it properly, resorting to a horridly uncharacteristic "epilogue" that seems like it was written two hours before deadline.
This series really does have a lot of legs in it, but Hillerman no longer seems to have the energy to keep it moving. Perhaps it's time for someone else to take over with Hillerman serving as consultant. Because it would be a shame for Chee and Leaphorn to continue on the downward spiral that has plagued Hillerman's most recent efforts.
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This book seems to be Tony Hillerman attempting to masquerade as James Patterson. Some familiar characters, a murder and related violence, short chapters, almost continual action and extremely limited character development. (Eliminate the many blank pages between chapters and it is barely two hundred small pages of large type. Thus, it is overpriced.)
The story has great potential. It has the well known characters of Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police and Bernie Manuelito, now separated geograpically from Chee as a rookie Border Patrol officer and with the future of their relationship in doubt. When a puzzling murder in Chee's jurisdiction intersects with Bernie's work, the retired "Legendary Lieutenant " Joe Leaphorn is called upon for consultation. At the same time there seems to be a puzzling interest emanating from a powerful source in Washington, D.C. concerning the ramifications of the case.
There is an intimation that the dead man may have been investigating the actual scandal concerning the loss (probably due to a combination of theft, embezzlement, indifference and incompetence) of billions of dollars of royalties from the Indian Tribal Royalty Fund held in trust by the Department of the Interior. This is a topic with great potential for an author with Hillerman's skills and knowledge, but it becomes peripheral to a pretty standard police procedural combined with the mystery of how the romance between Bernie and Jim will conclude. There is some excellent misdirection regarding both the nature of the underlying crinimal activity and its participants and who or what is the real "SINISTER PIG". But a lot of the oppportunities to develop the potential plot complications and resultant suspense were simply never pursued.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 28 days ago by Bob van Riezen
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
Pipeline pigging has found a new money maker. Not a bad book I expected more about Oil and better development of the characters. Read more
Published 22 months ago by DS
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still superior
The charm of Hillerman's books is the place and the people. The familiar characters are here in a slightly different setting, though I think his books with Jim Chee or Joe Leaphorn... Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2003 by Douglas Pass
1.0 out of 5 stars I was so disappointed.
I share the sentiments of my fellow reviewers - this was contrived, shallow and a total let-down. It was as if Mr. Hillerman hired out the writing. Read more
Published on June 22 2003 by Susan Gardner Bowers
3.0 out of 5 stars What happened?
I, like many Hillerman fans, waited anxiously for Sinister Pig. Unfortunately, when it arrived I was disappointed. The story has potential, but fails to reach it. Read more
Published on June 21 2003 by L. Coltharp
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, But Not �Boaring�
For the dedicated Hillerman reader, this latest may be disappointing. We have become accustomed to excellent mysteries which are also anthropology lessons. Read more
Published on June 16 2003 by John W. Bates
1.0 out of 5 stars Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice ...
OK, I thought, "The Wailing Wind" was an aberration, a hiccup in the career of a very good author. But two points define a line, and "The Sinister Pig" plots Mr. Read more
Published on June 13 2003 by R. Altizer
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying
(I almost want to write a review of some of the early reviewers, whiney, thoughtless and ill-spirited. Read more
Published on June 13 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Was this really written by Hillerman?
The reading of this book became a real chore....I found myself reading just to be reading, but not really enjoying. Read more
Published on June 12 2003 by Bobbrun
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