Book Review – The Way of the Bear

#26 / #8 in the Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito series.

Bernadette is on a mini, spiritual vacation to Bears Ear National Monument when she ends up in a dangerous situation. After being nearly killed by someone in a truck, she finds herself imbedded in a twisty, confusing, and unusual murder investigation. There’s archeologists, paleontologists, babies being born, and somehow as the case mysteries unwind, Bernie and Chee find parallels to their own personal lives and the trouble they’ve been recently going through.

I loved the fact that this story was relevant to the Navajo world of the last few years, with Bears Ears being at the center of the story. It also had mention of the Big Cough (aka Covid) and how terrible it was on the reservation.

The story itself was an excellent mystery! I had a lot of twisty turns and unfolded nicely as the story progressed. I enjoyed that the characters in this one (other than our mains) were unique and possessed uncommon traits (for example, one character has face-blindness!). The descriptions of the area was rich, and as the snow storm set in, I could feel the claustrophobia and cold begin to set in as I read.

This story was a little more personal to the lives of Chee and Bernie and through the story, they find some closure and healing. Trigger warning: this story discusses the loss of a pregnancy (I don’t think its a spoiler because it’s on like, page 1). It was an interesting and fresh perspective of our long-loved characters and made them even more realistic and relatable.

Be warned, Leaphorn is not in this one, except at the very end of the book. Remember that in the last book, The Sacred Bridge, he’d agreed to go on vacation to Hawaii 🙂 so he’s absent from Navajo country during this winter tale!

DeLanna Studi returns to narrate her second Hillerman book, and she did a great job again. While she’s native and I appreciate her being chosen for these books, I can tell that she lacks the Navajo accent, and I really do wish that someone from the Diné would narrate these books.

Overall, I give it a 4 out of 5.

Never miss a review, subscribe now!

3 responses to “Book Review – The Way of the Bear”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: