By Joe Moore
We lost a great one on Sunday. Bestselling novelist, Tony Hillerman, past away at the age of 83. Best known for his mysteries set among the Navajos of the Southwest, Hillerman was a true storyteller. His novels involved people struggling to maintain their ancient traditions while coping in a modern world. His series featured Novajo tribal police detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, and painted such strong visual images of the Southwest that I felt I had visited there in his books long before I did in my travels. His stories have vast physical, intellectual and spiritual dimensions.
I became a fan when I started reading Hillerman about halfway through his catalog. That’s when I picked up a copy of A Thief Of Time, a mesmerizing tale of the Anasazi, a missing archeologist, and the black market run by “pot hunters”. It was later made into a movie staring Wes Studi and Adam Beach.
Besides weaving great mysteries, Hillerman always showed through his characters a high level of compassion and a hunger for justice. And he wasn’t afraid to explore the misunderstandings and cross-cultural conflicts still very much alive today.
But he was first and foremost a great storyteller. He will be missed, for talent like Tony Hillerman is as rare as rain in the desert.