About Anne


Anne Hillerman came to New Mexico as a child with her mother, Marie, and her father, Tony Hillerman. She grew up in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the eldest of the family’s six children. She received a journalism degree from the University of New Mexico and worked as a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist before becoming a full-time author.

She is honored and delighted to continue the mystery series Tony Hillerman created. The Joe Leaphorn stories began with the publication of The Blessing Way in 1970 and continued through The Shape Shifter in 2006. Anne’s debut novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter,  follows the further adventures of the characters her father made famous, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. It places one of Tony’s supporting characters, officer Bernadette Manuelito, in the spotlight to make the series her own. Released by HarperCollins, the book received the Spur Award from Western Writers of America for the Best First Novel of 2013.

Her second mystery in the series, Rock with Wings, quickly became a New York Times best-seller. Set on the Navajo Nation in the beautiful country near Shiprock, New Mexico and in Monument Valley, the book involves a missing woman, a mysterious car fire, solar energy, a movie company, and an unexpected grave.

The third book, Song of the Lion, also is a New York Times best seller. It opens with a deadly explosion in the Shiprock High School parking lot, and takes the detectives to the Grand Canyon and a mediation to help determine the fate of a controversial development.

The fourth book in the series, Cave of Bones, was released to glowing reviews in April, 2018. The story takes the reader and Bernadette Manuelito to the rugged landscape of El Malpais near the Ramah Navajo reservation. The plot follows a lost teenager and the group leader who goes to search for her. Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn come into play as the situation grows more dangerous and complex.

The fifth, The Tale Teller, returns Joe Leaphorn to his role of protagonist and crime solver in a case that has ties to the Navajo’s Long Walk. While Leaphorn is hard at work, Bernie and Chee travel to the Canyon de Chelly/Chinle area to solve an unexplained murder and the theft of an old man’s prized possession.

Anne also is the author of the award-winning Tony Hillerman’s Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn, created with husband/photographer Don Strel, and honored as the best photo book of the year by the Mountains and Plains Booksellers.

In addition to working on the next novel, Anne is a director of Wordharvest Writers Workshops, a past board member of Western Writers of America, and a staunch supporter of public libraries.

(Photo of Anne at Coal Mine Canyon by Don Strel)

Anne honored with Frank Waters Award

Best-selling mystery writer Anne Hillerman has been named the 2019 recipient of the Frank Waters Award by the Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District. The award is given annually for literary excellence.

Hillerman, daughter of the late Southwest mystery writer Tony Hillerman, has written books on the food and gardens of Santa Fe, as well as travel guides to her city. She also continued the popular New Mexico mystery series popularized by her father. Tony Hillerman was a Frank Waters honoree in 1998. Anne Hillerman’s fifth Southwest mystery, “Tale Teller,” was released April 9.

The Frank Waters Award is named for the late Frank Waters, a Colorado Springs native and multiple Nobel Prize nominee, who wrote about Colorado and the West, and particularly about its native peoples. His books include “Pikes Peak”, “The Man Who Killed the Deer” and “Woman at Otowi Crossing”, among others.

(To read an interview about the award with Anne click here: http://www.coloradospringsstyle.com/March-April-2019/Living-the-Legacy/ )

Praise for Anne Hillerman

“In sum, Cave of Bones is a success. It’s an enjoyable and entertaining novel that takes us once again into a landscape and a culture we’ve learned to appreciate on many levels. It’s easy to read, it pleases the sensibilities, and it answers our earlier question nicely—this fictional universe now belongs firmly in the hands of Anne Hillerman.” — NY Journal of Books

“With a background of tribal law and custom, Anne Hillerman ties up multiple subplots in concise prose, evoking the beauty of the desert and building suspense to a perilous climax. Tony would be proud.” — Booklist

“Hillerman uses the southwestern setting as effectively as her late father did while skillfully combining Native American lore with present-day social issues.”  — Publishers Weekly

“Hillerman seamlessly blends tribal lore and custom into a well-directed plot, continuing in the spirit of her late father, Tony, by keeping his characters (like Chee) in the mix, but still establishing Manuelito as the main player in what has become a fine legacy series.” — Booklist

“A worthy continuation of Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee series. Anne ably returns to Navajo Country in a colorful mystery that is both fascinating and vividly compelling.” — David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder as a Fine Art and many other novels

“Hillerman fans, rejoice! Anne captures the feel of her father’s books, the wonderful understanding of a place and a people that made his so popular, and she has an ear for his unique voice. It’s a remarkable accomplishment.” — Charles Todd bestselling author and Agatha Award winner.


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