Tony Hillerman, award-winning author, is known for his mystery novels set in the four corners area of Arizona and New Mexico. What is special about Hillerman novels is the attention to the cultures that he describes, especially the Navajo. I recommend Hillerman books as a great way to prepare for your trip to the southwest. Here are some great Hillerman mysteries to start you off.
Synopsis: When Lt. Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police discovers a corpse with a mouth full of sand at a crime scene seemingly without tracks or clues, he is ready to suspect a supernatural killer. And what he must stalk is the Wolf-Witch along a chilling trail between mysticism and murder.
Synopsis: When two boys disappear--one a Zuni, the other a Navajo--tribal rivalries flair as Lt. Joe Leaphorn tries to unravel the mystery.
Synopsis: Indian policeman Joe Leaphorn enters on the strangest case of his career when an old Indian soothsayer and a young Indian girl are found murdered, and ends up investigating the strange kidnapping of a group of Boy Scouts and evading a plot on his own life
Synopsis: This thriller, set in contemporary New Mexico, quickly draws detective Jim Chee into his rich Indian heritage as he investigates the bizarre theft of a box of trinkets--a theft which endangers his life as well as a young schoolteacher's
Synopsis: Navajo tribal policeman Jim Chee, barred from following up on a multi-million dollar drug case, investigates a murder and a vandalism incident and finds that perhaps all three cases are part of the same pattern
Synopsis: Navajo tribal policeman Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee investigate a string of murders committed at an ancient Native American burial site.
Synopsis: Tribal police officer Jim Chee and detective Lt. Joe Leaphorn find themselves working side by side again when Smithsonian conservator Henry Highhawk is arrested for robbing Native American graves--and possibly for murder
Synopsis: Jim Chee is torn between his role as the prosecution's star witness against the man charged with killing his best friend and his own investigation of the crime
Synopsis: Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn solve a crime that involves the murder of a Pueblo tribal official, the death of a schoolteacher, and the disappearance of a tribal momento.
The Fallen Man is a Tony Hillerman book about a corpse found by a group of mountain climbers.