Picks and Pans Review: The Sinister Pig

updated 05/12/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/12/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Tony Hillerman

Don't let his age fool you: At 77, southwestern mystery man Hillerman isn't afraid to go a few rounds with bigger foes. His latest whodunit takes wicked aim at the U.S. Department of the Interior, which the author says has mishandled "billions" in royalties to Native Americans for oil and other natural resources. Navajo cops Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn follow the murder of a CIA agent in New Mexico all the way to D.C., relying on their "traditional Navajo habit of just waiting for the speaker to speak."

Don't fret, fans: Hillerman is too much of an entertainer to bog down his speed-read style with wonky policy talk. His minimal description and dialogue keep the pace breakneck. This is a beach book with attitude, and give Hillerman credit for making his message of injustice as riveting as the final twist. (HarperCollins, $25.95)

BOTTOM LINE: This Pig flies

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