The Complete List of Anne Hillerman Books in Order

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Anne Hillerman is an author famous for carrying her father’s legacy – Tony Hillerman. She is the current author of the extremely popular and loved Navajo Mysteries, also known as the Leaphorn and Chee series.

Hillerman has written seven books in this series, with eight books scheduled to release in 2023. Anne took over the series after her father’s death in 2008, releasing her first book, “Spider Woman’s Daughter” in 2013.

The most significant change that Anne Hillerman made to the series was to bring the female character in the story to the front and give her more depth, complexity, and importance. She worked on her so much that this series is now called the “Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito” series.

Anne Hillerman Books in Order

If you are planning to read Anne’s works, the best way to do so would be by reading all her books in order. The best thing about these books is that one book rarely carries anything to the next book. This means that you can start with any book, and it would be fine.

Sr. No.TitlePublication DatePrint LengthPublisherWhere to Buy
1Spider Woman's DaughterOctober 1, 2013320 pagesHarperAmazon
2Rock with WingsMay 5, 2015336 pagesHarperAmazon
3Song of the LionApril 11, 2017304 pagesHarperAmazon
4Cave of BonesApril 3, 2018480 pagesHarperLuxeAmazon
5The Tale TellerApril 9, 2019320 pagesHarperAmazon
6StargazerApril 13, 2021336 pagesHarperAmazon
7The Sacred BridgeApril 11, 2023320 pagesHarper PaperbacksAmazon
8The Way of the BearApril 25, 2023304 pagesHarperAmazon

1. Spider Woman’s Daughter

Spider Woman's Daughter
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Spider Woman’s Daughter is the first book in the Chee and Leaphorn series written by Anne Hillerman, and it is also her first published work. It is difficult to fill her father’s shoes and make sure that the fans of the series should get what they love without losing her style.

But she comes out with flying colors. Hillerman’s first novel was a raging success, loved both by the most die-hard fans of this series and the most scrutinizing critics.

Spider Woman’s Daughter got Anne Hillerman the Western Writers Spur Award as the best first novel. So what makes the story so good?

Since Hillerman was going to write about an already established series of two police officers, she decided to do the right thing to put the female character of the series in the spotlight and tell the entire story from her perspective.

She may have felt more comfortable and confident writing the story’s female character in greater detail. Whatever the reason, not only did the story come out to be detailed, well-thought, with fleshed-out characters, but it also gave Bernadette Manuelito an important role.

Instead of being the “love interest” or the “damsel in distress,” Bernie is shown to be a strong character with the ability to solve cases. Like the other two lead characters, she can go against the rule to do what’s right.

Joe Leaphorn is shot and battling for his life in the CCU. Who is the shooter? What’s the purpose behind this act? No one knows. The people behind the attempted murder will strike again. But Chee and Bernie must act fast and do whatever they can to get to the bottom of this.

Bernie and Chee decide to take a look at some of Leaphorn’s old enemies who could have a motive behind it. But the more they investigate, the more mysteries come out. New characters are introduced, including Bernie’s sister.

With a lot of conflict between the characters, many mysteries to solve, and a vibrant and detailed description of the Mexican and Native American people, this book won’t feel like someone other than Hillerman himself wrote it.

2. Rock with Wings

Rock with Wings
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Rock with Wings was received with an overwhelmingly positive response from the readers of the Navajo series. The second book by Anne Hillerman and the twentieth book in the Chee and Leaphorn (and Bernie) series is an improvement over all the flaws in the first book.

What makes this novel better is that Anne has understood to create the perfect balance between the characters, their struggles and their interactions, and the multiple mysteries throughout the story. The characters keep the readers invested, while the mystery and story keep them interested.

As with the previous book, Rock with Wings also focuses more on Bernie, and the story is told from her perspective.

There’s also a good amount of personal struggle shown as Bernie tries to enjoy some moments with Chee while going through work pressure, a sick mother, and a rebellious younger sister.

Here’s how great the story starts; Bernie stops a man as she thinks he might be driving under the influence. But as she approaches the driver, she finds that he is perfectly fine, without any evidence of alcohol or drug. But he is nervous, sweaty, and scared.

While she has to deal with this case, Chee is on his mission to find a missing woman, following cryptic clues that seem to lead him to a more confusing place.

These two cases are unrelated. Still, as the story progresses, readers will be delighted to see how Hillerman manages to connect the two cases and craft a brilliant and convoluted mystery that would make you scratch your head.

Chee and Bernie investigate the cases, trying to find out what’s happening. At the same time, they have the guidance of the legend Joe Leaphorn. The characters are made even more complex in this book, which makes this book better than the previous one.

3. Song of the Lion

Song of the Lion
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The third book is by Anne Hillerman, and the trend continues. Song of the Lion is again an improvement in all the departments the previous books lacked, even though there were just a handful of minor flaws.

Song of the lion is also the book where readers would notice a shift in the writing style, which was expected. Anne Hillerman tries to slowly and smartly introduce her writing style and the direction she wants the books to take. And she does a great job in that.

Here’s what the story is about; During a basketball game at Shiprock High School, a car bomb shakes the entire town. Thankfully, Bernie is there (off-duty), and she manages to control the crowd and prevent them from panicking.

But when she comes to the bombing site. The victim dies without saying anything. But soon, we discover that the dead person was not the victim. The bomb was for the owner of the car, Aza Palmer.

Palmer has already been receiving death threats. Why would someone want to kill Palmer? Well, it turns out there is a multi-million dollar development plan at the Grand Canyon, and the people belonging to the Hopi and Dine tribes do not want their sacred lands to be touched.

Chee is then assigned as Palmer’s bodyguard, bringing him a whole new set of problems and challenges. But as the story progresses, Leaphorn figures out something intriguing about the case.

The recent bombings and the threat to Palmer’s life could be related to a case he handled that went cold years ago. And if he is right, things are way worse than they imagined.

Anne Hillerman should be awarded for her research in describing the little details about the tribal people of Hopi and Dine. Apart from a thrilling read, there is so much one can learn about these tribes through this book.

4. Cave of Bones

Cave of Bones
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As with the previous books in this series, Anne and Tony Hillerman, Cave of Bones is built upon a solid, sturdy mystery/thriller story foundation. But what gives this book its beauty and overall strength is the rich Navajo folklore.

The entire premise of this book is set around Navajo mythology, bringing an air of mystery and an eerie dread. For most of the story, Cave of Bones is also about Bernie, with Chee solving an equally important (but shorter-running) case.

If you are a fan of Joe Leaphorn (who is the reason why this series got so popular), you’ll have to wait for him a bit more. Leaphorn does make a few appearances in the book now and then, but it is very sporadic. So what’s the story about?

The story starts with Bernie getting a case. Teenagers’ outdoor training program goes awry when a girl doesn’t return. Their team leader goes to look for the girl. But the girl is traumatized after seeing the skeletal remains of a human.

While the girl is back, the team leader vanishes around the volcanic region called El Malpaís, Spanish for “Bad Lands.” The Navajo lore says that a terrible monster is lying dead in the region, and the place is cursed.

While Bernie is slammed with this case, hardly having any clue about the disappearance, Chee is going through another problem at home. Without revealing much about the story, it can be said that Chee is going through a lot of personal struggles.

Read this book to know how both of them will manage to get out of this mess while solving the cases, finding out what is going on, and if there is a monster taking lives.

5. The Tale Teller

The Tale Teller
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For all the fans of Joe Leaphorn who have been waiting eagerly for him to take center stage, “The Tale Teller” is the novel you’ve been waiting for. Anne Hillerman took her time to study the character of Joe Leaphorn, understand how he thinks, and then write about him.

Because Joe Leaphorn is the main character in this series, the man responsible for making the Navajo series so popular, Hillerman knew Leaphorn must be written just as her father wrote him. And she has succeeded in doing it.

Critics and readers (both old and new) have poured love and appreciation for this book, describing it as one of the best books in the entire series, including the books by Tony Hillerman. So what makes this book so great?

Joe Leaphorn meets Daisy Pinto from the local museum. She says that the museum got a box with some ancient Navajo artifacts.

Apart from the fact that readers now get Leaphorn as the lead, this book brings back the thrill of mystery and the excitement of exploring the unknown.

The person who was managing the inventory is dead. A bracelet and a traditional dress are missing. No one knows how it was stolen. Someone wants to keep those two artifacts hidden.

While Joe works on the case with limited resources (he can hardly communicate after the deadly bullet wound), Chee and Bernie find a perplexing mystery. While on their morning run, they find a dead body, and someone does not want the tribal cops to investigate the case.

A fascinating and enjoyable read. This book will keep you wondering who is behind all this while simultaneously admiring the passion and skills with which Joe Leaphorn works.

6. Stargazer

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The twenty-fourth book in the series, Stargazer, brings Bernadette Manuelito back into action. This time, she is even better and more interesting than before. It seems as if Anne Hillerman is getting better with every novel she writes.

Bernie is working on her job, doing some bland things. But it takes this trio only a short time to find something interesting, intriguing, and life-threatening. Bernie gets a call from someone, and the story starts.

Maya and Bernie used to be roommates back in the day, but her addiction caused Bernie to distance herself. Years later, Maya’s brother calls Bernie to help him find her sister. Maya has gone missing.

Maya had married an astronomer named Steve Jones, and they had a son. They lived a happy life in Hawaii, but as soon as they moved back to New Mexico, their marriage and relationship started to fall apart.

It does not take them long to find where Maya is because Bernie gets a call from the Socorro County Sherriff’s Department, telling her that Maya has turned herself in for murdering her husband! But Maya refuses to tell anything else.

While all the evidence is against Maya, there is something that just does not fit right. For reasons unknown, Bernie cannot believe that Maya would do something like this. Bernie must now race against time, investigating the case herself, and soon she discovers there is something more sinister going on.

Read this thrilling novel to discover how Bernie will discover what happened, who is behind all this, and prove that Maya is innocent.

7. The Sacred Bridge

The Sacred Bridge
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“The Sacred Bridge” is about Jim Chee. Anne Hillerman decided to write the fascinating and essential character of Jim Chee. After successfully making Bernie’s character more interesting and fleshed-out and taking the difficult task of writing Joe Leaphorn.

After solving so many cases and seeing gruesome crimes while escaping life-threatening attacks, Chee decides to take some time for himself and go on a vacation to introspect.

This spiritual journey will help with inner reflection and guide him toward the path he should be walking.

But it seems he cannot stay away from trouble much longer. While walking, Chee discovers a dead body floating in the lake.

After investigating, he discovers that the dead man is a well-known businessman named Curtis Walker. But what Chee cannot understand is how did he end up there?

As the investigation and the story progresses, we discover that it was a murder with some deeper motive. While he is working on this case, trying to find the killers, Bernie is working undercover on another dangerous mission that could prove lethal if she fails.

As with all the other books in this series, the book would be complete (and lacking) with some rich lore and history about the area where the story takes place, the culture, and the people. This book talks about Lake Powell and every other ancient or heritage site in the area.

The climax of this book is said to be one of the finest in the series. There is so much at stake, and it seems that Bernie and Chee are about to fail. Read the novel to get a constant dose of thrill and suspense.

8. The Way of the Bear

The Way of the Bear
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The Way of the Bear will be the eighth book by Anne Hillerman and the latest one in the Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito series. The book is scheduled to release in 2023. With the current trend of every Anne Hillerman book getting better, you can expect this book to be the best in the series.

The story starts with establishing a perplexing case. A well-seasoned outdoorsman and paleontologist are frozen to death within walking distance of his car. How is that even possible? Another man is murdered in a home break-in attempt, but nothing is stolen. What is going on?

Chee and Bernie are visiting the famous Bears Ears area. This area has attracted scientists for its rich deposits of fossils, and many people from the neighboring tribes consider this land sacred.

But the sanctity is nothing to criminals running illicit businesses in the area. As Chee and Bernie investigate, they find a mountain of things that would shock and intrigue the readers. There are hints of witchcraft, crime, and so much more hidden along with the fossils.

The books by Tony Hillerman are more focused on establishing the two male leads, Chee and Leaphorn. The books mainly focus on Bernie, written by Anne Hillerman.

Here’s the list of all the books in the Leaphorn and Chee series.

This list includes all the books by Tony and Anne Hillerman. You can start with these books if you want, but it would be better to read the entire series. Here are all the books written just by Anne Hillerman. 


If you want to know about the Navajo culture, the people of different tribes and the richness and diversity in the mythology and folklore of these people mixed beautifully with brilliantly crafted characters, intriguing stories, and a lot of tense mystery, then Anne Hillerman’s books are for you.

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