Renowned Navajo tribal policemen Joe Leaphorn (retired but by no means out of the loop) and Jim Chee return in Tony Hillerman's latest, The Sinister Pig. The aforementioned pig is not of the porcine variety, but rather a device used for cleaning gas pipelines from the inside, a small mechanized entity capable of determining the condition of underground pipe without the messy and expensive chore of digging it up. The bad guys in The Sinister Pig have developed an ingenious use for a section of long dormant pipeline adjacent to the Mexico-U.
S. border. It seems the diameter of the pipe is suitable for the transportation of all manner of contraband, easily smuggled via mechanical pig across the border right under the eyes (and feet) of the Border Patrol. When a veteran oil field troubleshooter is found murdered, Sgt. Jim Chee is called in to assist the FBI in their investigation. Chee's love interest, Border Patrol officer Bernadette Manuelito, offers up a strong supporting performance, investigating a remote outpost which may be peripherally related to Chee's case. Thrown together repeatedly by the whims of the Navajo gods, Chee and Manuelito dance around the issue of their undeniable attraction to one another; neither wants to be the first to admit what everyone around them (the reader included) has known for some time now. Although there is a liberal dose of Navajo folklore and customs, The The Sinister Pig is by any measure a straight-up stand-alone suspense novel geared to appeal both to Hillerman's legions of existing fans and new readers alike.