Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What we're reading: Longmire is back!


I just finished Craig Johnson's new Walt Longmire mystery, A Serpent's Tooth. I've been looking forward to the next installment, and this one didn't disappoint: It's a combination of a missing persons case, interstate polygamy (and more sinister activities) by an offshoot Mormon survivalist group, with Big Oil lurking in the background. This is what I like so much about Johnson's books--they're always multilayered, and just when you think you have them figured out, it becomes plain that you do not! Also, as ever, both his recurring characters and his new ones are memorable and complex. Victoria Moretti's relationship with Walt is finally (finally!) progressing, and the inimitable Henry Standing Bear is his usual enigmatic self, serving as a calming influence when Walt is about to fly off the handle, and always providing both humor and philosophy at the appropriate moment. I loved the character of Orrin Porter Rockwell (Man of God, Son of Thunder), whether he was real or bogus.

Here's my favorite quote from the whole book (pp. 267-68). You would probably have to be a fan/reader of the series to really get the humor in context, but maybe it will give you the flavor, anyway:
     Saizorbitoria joined us. "Would someone mind explaining to me what it is that we're supposed to be doing?"
     Vic growled, "Social call."
     The Basquo looked at the Cheyenne Nation still standing at the end of the driveway with the scatter gun. "You bet."
     We all joined the Bear like the Bighorn Mountain Mod Squad. "Reservation warrant?"
     Henry was referring to the old method of planting somebody at the back door to yell "Come in" as you banged on the front.
     "No, we'll just knock, and if nobody answers we go in."
     My undersheriff frowned as she checked her Glock. "Inadmissable; we find a body in there then we need this to be by the book."
     Sancho interrupted. "A body?"
     I glanced at Henry. "Do you still have some of those extra shells in your pockets?"
     "I do."
     Saizorbitoria wasn't going to let it go. "What body? Whose body?"
     Henry turned and regarded the young man. "What body, whose body--is life really worth so many questions? Let us just go down there and shoot or be shot, shall we?" We watched as he blithely flipped the shotgun onto his shoulder as if it were a parasol in a fancy dress competition and paraded down the grass strip between the two gravel tracks in his worn moccasins as if it were a garden path--Sunday in the Park with Bear.
It's that kind of interplay that makes the Walt Longmire series worthy of turning into a TV show, which has just started up again on A&E. Check out the books AND the show!

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