Walt Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, has an obsession with an old case, the rape of Melissa Little Bird where the underage perpetrators were arrested, were found guilty, but sent to a youth facility where they served very little time at all. He’s also been a widower for a few years, and his friend, Henry Standing Bear, has decided to make him a personal project for a time, getting him to work on fixing up his home and his body in order to date a girl he’s had a childhood crush on. But all this becomes background when one of the rapists is found dead, and what is first thought to be a hunting accident turns into a vendetta with a Sharps .45-70 buffalo rifle. It took a while to read the first couple of chapters; Craig Johnson is able to pack more detail into a paragraph than many writers can in a chapter, and oh-so-very well! The characters, the landscape, the cultures, are all described in lush detail. The Native American mysticism was beautiful; I don’t know accuracy, but I know it touched me as being authentic to the character and an obviously necessary part of the book. The ending took me by surprise; I’m still a bit off-keel from it. The A&E series, Longmire, is based on this series. I’m making plans to buy the book series; I loved the television series, but the book series is better by leaps and bounds!
34. Craig Johnson, Death Without Company, 271 pages, Mystery, Hardback, 2006 (Walt Longmire Series, Book 2).
Book 2 of the Longmire series picks up shortly after the events of the first book. Just as Walt is coming to terms with the events of the prior novel, he gets a call from the former sheriff of Absaroka County, Lucian Connelly, to investigate the death of a fellow resident of his assisted living home. The past of former sheriff Connelly, with one close-held bombshell after another, is pieced together as all those who knew the fate of the late Mari Bajora’s husband dies. Throw in some interesting facts about mineral rights, the status of domestic abuse victims in the 1950s, horrible weather, and Walt trying to fill a few holes in his staff, this book leads everyone in a million directions at once. Wonderfully entertaining!