The Sacred Bridge

Book Review

The Sacred Bridge, by Anne Hillerman

Reviewed by Susan Lang, Peregrine Book Company Event Coordinator


From the very first intriguing sentence, “The young Navajo man froze for a moment and dealt with his fear,” I was pulled securely into Hillerman’s newest  novel, and the mystery that develops–flipping page after page and annoyed at each and every interruption, all the way to the entirely satisfying ending.

It seems that every new mystery Hillerman gifts us with is even better than the one before it! I say ‘seems’ because perhaps the best part of each new work is the fact that you haven’t yet read it, and it’s such a great treat to have before you pages upon unread pages that bring an intense anticipation of delights ahead. And The Sacred Bridge does not disappoint!

Jim Chee is taking a break from his detective job to look for a cave where the Holy People have left amazing sand paintings, according to Joe Leaphorn, who came across it years ago, pre-Lake Powell. However, Chee quickly gets caught up in a mystery surrounding the death of a young Navajo man that he spots floating in Lake Powell near the Sacred Rainbow Bridge. So much for his vacation! For the rest of the novel he’ll be untangling the convoluted twists and turns on just how this death came to be, at times visiting the small Navajo community on the Sacred Navajo Mountain, and interacting with many unique and fascinating characters.

Meanwhile, his wife, Detective Bernadette, is on normal duty close to headquarters, where it has been “pretty quiet,” as she deals with family situations on off-duty hours, keeping in contact with Chee by phone when they are in range. She is driving away from one of these family situations, when she spots a hitchhiker on the dark empty road and stops to see if she can help. She quickly finds that the man is in a state of panic, and he takes off running down the road when he spots an approaching car. The oncoming vehicle not only follows the man, but runs him down in front of Bernie’s eyes–and that is the end of things being pretty quiet. And the beginning of her being in the middle of a deeply dangerous mystery hidden out on the Navajo Nation.

Come join us at the Peregrine Book Company for an in person conversation with Anne Hillerman herself at 2pm on Saturday, September 24th. She will talk about the writing of this book, about her upcoming novel being released in the spring, and about the new Dark Winds TV and streaming series she is producing with Robert Redford. And, of course, she will answer your questions.

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