Title: Dry Bones by Craig Johnson A Walt Longmire mysteryPublisher: Viking press (May 2015) 320 pp
Genre: Mystery, Western, historical, Native American, suspense. 4.5 stars
Craig Johnson has written 10 books, one novella and a collection of short stories revolving around Walt Longmire, the gruff, laconic, philosophical Sheriff of Absaroka County. Johnson lives in Ucross Wyoming, population 25 on his ranch. I have followed his stories since discovering the first novel 11 years ago (The Cold Dish). Many of his novels have won well deserved awards and are highly recommended. Longmire is also a Netflix show now (season four) (previously A&E), although I really prefer the books, where Longmire is a literate character. I rated this 1/2 star less as it felt more like a TV script (fewer descriptions as we’ve already seen them). There is still clever word play, cheeky humour, and Dog. It is one of the best western series that I truly enjoy reading. Read in order for continued character development; there are many references to earlier books. It is a comfortable, enjoyable, familiar read with old friends.
It wouldn’t be summer without Longmire. I confess I devoured this book when it was first published, and just revisited it to review. The second reading was as good, although I was better prepared for the difficult ending. Some distance has made me appreciate the Greek tragedy storyline. But it is difficult to wait for the continuing story. Once again the vast open spaces of Wyoming vie with the complexities of modern crime mysteries.
Danny Lone Elk’s murder is complicated by the recent discovery of the largest most complete T.rex skeleton on his land. The cutthroat world of archeological artifacts (value $8 million), political wrangling (of course the government gets involved), and the Cheyenne nation create havoc in Walt’s life. There is always the collision between modern and ancient traditional ways. Longmire concentrates on the murder while Henry is planning an ancient naming party for the arrival of Walt’s daughter and granddaughter. As always, Henry Standing Bear has a central role (and is magnificent in the books) and has Walt’s back. The usual cast is all here; I’m delighted to see Dog. I loved the two Bobs (Wyoming State Troopers).
Justice is done, however quirky. Fate, however, requires reckoning. This series rewards long time fans, and we know there is much more to come. Walt perseveres as the aging hero he is, in this engaging, well paced story. You won’t be disappointed.
The audio is wonderful with the great voice/characterization of George Guidall. (I often listen to these books before reading the next one as I enjoy his fantastic storytelling.)
For writings on the west read on to Tony Hillerman and Mary Doria Russell (Doc and Epitaph).
For mysteries in the west, read on to Rich Curtin (5 books with Dep Sheriff Manny Rivera: Artifacts of Death (2011…Deadly Games 2015).
For a different west on television: Hell on Wheels, amazing post civil war building of the railroad.
There’s everything here, you just have to know where to look.
Jen liked dead things better than live things.
Most everything was in bloom in late May.
…more flies on his hat than Orvis has in its catalogue.