The Longmire Defense by Craig Johnson
Once again Walt Longmire, a character beloved by many does what he does best: digs up the bones of a long-dead crime which point to a possible murder by Walt’s prickly grandfather and a current plot to defraud billions of dollars from the great state of Wyoming.
There is a phenomenon known to many serial readers with favorite authors. Lurking in the shadows is the fear that the new book will not be up to snuff. Fans of Craig Johnson need have no such fears. He routinely delivers better and better stories carrying the reader to new places but always coming home. There is a comfort in his books that reassures us, comfort us, renews our faith in good writing with a punch.
Here we have Walt Longmire, erstwhile Absaroka County Sheriff and consummate human being doing what he does best; digging up the truth, even if it hurts. Evidence emerges that casts suspicion upon Walt’s grandfather Lloyd, a first-class SOB with whom Walt had a rocky and difficult relationship. It looks an awfully lot like he killed a man many decades ago and Walt starts exhuming facts, evidence and even a body, or at least tries to. Of course, a certain amount of collateral damage ensues including a pending threat to his romance with his undersheriff, Vic Moretti, she of the hard stare and brimstone-spouting mouth. The sexual tension between these two volatile personalities adds considerable spice to the mystery that underlays the plot.
As always, we see the author’s wry humor peeking out from behind the menacing occurrences in this masterful tale of good and evil. It is one of the expectations readers have of Johnson’s work that there will be a modicum of dark fun, usually with some literary underpinnings, and that the cast of characters we have all come to love will contribute in ways that meet and exceed expectations. Henry Standing Bear, Ruby, Sancho, Lucian and all the rest are here and add amusement and color to the stew. These books are fun.
Lovers of whodunits will love this one and those with an affinity for the landscape of the West and particularly Wyoming will also find much to admire in these pages. There is clearly a skilled craftsman at work here, and we rejoice in the emergence of another work in the oeuvre. In my humble opinion, just about anyone who loves to read will find all of Craig Johnson’s books a pleasure.