Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson

Viking, 304 pages, $28

For the most part, the Mexican sun blazes unsparingly throughout “Depth of Winter,” the fourteenth full-length Walt Longmire mystery by Craig Johnson. It is easy to feel how parched various characters feel, how desolate the desert hillside is. In the midst of Dia de los Muertos festivities, Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming, has journeyed to the holdout of butchers and madmen in an almost inaccessible part of Mexico to make sure those dear to him do not join the spirits on the other side.

Psychopath Bidarte has been a long-time foe of Walt. Walt suspects Bidarte has been behind the recent spate of evils that has befallen his family: the death of his son-in-law, the kidnapping of his daughter, Cady. Bidarte has left a trail for Walt to follow, a trail that ends in Walt’s death, Bidarte hopes.

There is more action in this book than in all the previous thirteen books combined. It begins with Walt meeting “The Seer,” a blind man with no legs. Walt hopes he is the start he needs to find Cady. Walt must put his trust in this stranger. Then he must trust more strangers and even some bad people who are not strangers.

Will the ghosts of the First Nation who have led and aided Walt in dire moments clear a path for him now? Will all the people waiting around the bend who want to kill Walt finally have the odds in their favor? Will the mules or donkeys help or hinder? There’s no telling with mules, or donkeys.

Despite the surfeit of action, Craig Johnson capably tends to his characters. He shows us their stories. He prods their better natures and tests their mettle. He also gives his long-time readers what they have come for: humor and heart.

There is a lot of bang, bang. There are a lot of rat-a-tats. There are even some moments of ka-boom. There are cough, coughs. There are eeeeeeees, aaaaaaas, oh shits, and a clothesline. Good times.

No comments:

Post a Comment