Placitas Reads 2022: The Sacred Bridge by Anne Hillerman

About the Program

The Placitas Community Library is thrilled to announce the community read selection for 2022– Anne Hillerman’s new novel  The Sacred Bridge.  The publisher describes the book as, “An ancient mystery resurfaces with ramifications for the present day in this gripping chapter in the Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito series from New York Times bestselling author Anne Hillerman.”


Anne Hillerman is the bestselling author of the Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito series. The Sacred Bridge is her seventh novel in the series that was created by Tony Hillerman, her father. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is at work on her next novel.

For Reference

Explanations and Summaries

What is a "community read?"

Since 1998, when the Washington Center for the Book hosted its first community read, libraries across the United States have increasingly embraced the notion of civic unity through reading together.  A community read is a shared reading experience where members of the community all read and discuss the same book.  This idea has taken root and libraries all over the world host ‘community reads’. Generally, several programs are hosted by a library on topics related to the title of the year.

Book Summary

Sergeant Jim Chee’s vacation to beautiful Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell has a deeper purpose. He’s on a quest to unravel a sacred mystery his mentor, the Legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, stumbled across decades earlier. Chee’s journey takes a deadly turn when, after a prayerful visit to the sacred Rainbow Bridge, he spots a body floating in the lake. The dead man, a Navajo with a passion for the canyon’s ancient rock art, lived a life filled with many secrets. Discovering why he died and who was responsible involves Chee in an investigation that puts his own life at risk. 

Back in Shiprock, Officer Bernadette Manuelito is driving home when she witnesses a driver in an expensive sedan intentionally kill a hitchhiker. The search to find the killer leads her to uncover a dangerous chain of interconnected revelations involving a Navajo Nation cannabis enterprise—but the evil that is unleashed jeopardizes her mother and her sister, Darleen, and puts Bernie in the deadliest situation of her law enforcement career.“

Praise For Anne Hillerman

“Tony Hillerman fans will appreciate her keeping his fictional creations, Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, alive and thriving. The storytelling gene has been proudly passed on from father to daughter.”

— Bookreporter on STARGAZER

“Hillerman’s writing becomes stronger with every new installment in the series, deepening the development of each character. . . . The picturesque Southwest, as well as the history of the Navajo, come through on each page.”

— Library Journal (Starred Review) on THE TALE TELLER

The Tale Teller is more than just a police procedural set in the Southwest; it’s a reading experience not to be missed. Anne Hillerman has reached a new level of storytelling in this one, and she deserves recognition as one of the finest mystery authors currently working in the genre.”

— New York Journal of Books on THE TALE TELLER

“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 on SONG OF THE LION

“The latest from Hillerman continues worldbuilding in a tale that will reward long-term readers.”

— Kirkus Reviews on SONG OF THE LION

“Fans of Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito, characters created by the author’s father, Tony Hillerman, will savor this multilayered story of suspense, with its background of contemporary environmental vs. development issues.”

— Library Journal on SONG OF THE LION

How To Obtain A Copy

SACRED BRIDGE by Anne Hillerman

Harper | On-Sale Date: April 12, 2022 | ISBN: 9780062908360| $26.99| PP: 320

Amazon Link | Harper Link

Library’s Programs

With all this in mind, Placitas Reads has planned three exciting programs for September and October. First, on September 17 at 2pm in the Gracie Lee Room, PCL will offer a ‘traditional book discussion.’ This discussion will be coordinated by book group aficionados. Since there will be many of us, we will break into smaller groups and share our thoughts around a couple of interesting questions provoked by The Sacred Bridge.

On October 15 at 2 PM, in honor of Indigenous People’s Day, PCL is excited to welcome Elder Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez.  Elder Sanchez is a member of the San Ildefonso Pueblo and a founding Mother of Tewa Women United. “Tewa Women United (TWU) started in 1989 as a support group for women from the Pueblos of the northern Rio Grande concerned with the traumatic effects of colonization, religious inquisition, and militarization.”  Click here for the flier for this event.

Kathy Sanchez says, “Throughout New Mexico, there are many areas under the “so-called” ownership of federal, state, and private entities that are sacred to Indigenous communities. These sacred sites provide the physical foundation for Indigenous culture, identity, creation stories, and a connection from each generation to their ancestors. Today, most, if not all, sacred sites face a myriad of threats, such as resource extraction, irresponsible recreation, and infrastructure development. The need to protect sacred sites is vital to maintaining and passing from generation to generation the distinct identities, traditions, and histories of Indigenous peoples.”

The Rainbow Bridge near Lake Powell in Utah is one such sacred site. It has been under threat since 1956 when construction began on Glen Canyon Dam and the flooding of the canyon. The creation of Lake Powell radically changed the entire area and submerged many sites sacred to native people. Now, the worsening drought and other factors have created new risks to this important area. This is the setting for Anne Hillerman’s most recent mystery, The Sacred Bridge.

Placitas Reads 2022 will culminate on Saturday, October 22 at 2pm with a talk by Anne Hillerman on The Sacred Bridge Anne is a special friend of PCL and has even included the library in one of her novels, which continue the Navajo detective stories her father Tony Hillerman made popular. She will discuss the importance of research in writing fiction, including this latest gripping narrative featuring Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito.

For a copy of the general flier, click here. For a copy of the Hillerman flier only, click here.