Sunday, August 26, 2012

Where the schemers and the meth addicts roam

Title: Death Without Company
Author: Craig Johnson
Bookmark:  I shouldn't even bother anymore.

Sheriff Walt Longmire had a rough month.  He nearly lost an ear to frostbite, his best friend to a twitchy and paranoid young man with a target on his back, and his (smoking hot) deputy to three prestigious job offers.  He kept all three of them, but the woman he loved is gone and his prime suspect in a recent series of killings stuck the barrel of a high-powered rifle under their chin and pulled the trigger.

Naturally, there was a period of adjustment.  He grew a beard.  He adopted the woman's dog when it arrived on his back porch (though he still hasn't given Dog a real name), and he hardly ever itches his ear anymore.  Henry Standing Bear has recovered from his injuries, and Santiago Saizarbitoria is on his way up from Cheyenne to interview for the position vacated when Branch joined the highway patrol.  Vic is her usual (gorgeous) foul-mouthed self, and nobody would have her any other way, but her husband is gone and the divorce finalized.

Walt is doing much better.  His friend and predecessor Lucian Connolly is not.  Mari Baroja has died in her room at the Durant Home for Assisted Living, and Lucian suspects foul play.  Walt isn't convinced at first, but he plays along and soon learns there was far more to the Basque woman than met the eye. Like her three-hour marriage to Lucian, the granddaughter who owns a bakery in town, and the millions she holds in  mineral rights on her land.

As Walt and Vic keep digging (with able assistance from Saizarbitorio--rechristened "Sancho" by Vic--, Henry, and Dog), they find that this mystery spans generations, and includes more bodies than anyone would have guessed.  Lucian won't tell what he knows, key players are brutally attacked, and more subtle attempts are made on other lives.  Walt has to find his way through all of these obstacles to find out who is behind the killings, and why.  Meanwhile, an official from the treasury department is in town to go through abandoned safety deposit boxes, and she has her eye on the sheriff of Absaroka County.

I could go into the list of reasons I love the book, but they're the same reasons I love The Cold Dish.  Great characters who work well with one another, an intriguing and believable plot, and Wyoming.  It's still not Oregon, but it's close enough to make me homesick in the very best of ways.  Reading Longmire books is like taking a trip back west for me, even if my days were never so exciting as Walt's.

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posted by reyn at 3:56 PM


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