Death Without Company by Craig Johnson

Death Without Company (Walt Longmire, #2)Death Without Company

by Craig Johnson
Series: Walt Longmire, #2

Hardcover, 271 pg.
Viking Adult, 2006
Read: Feb. 11-13, 2014

Granted, I took too long to get back to this series, so it’s possible that my memory is more of the TV show than The Cold Dish, but I think I remember it well enough to say that Death Without Company has a more enjoyable, casual feel throughout than its predecessor did.

Which isn’t to say this is a laugh riot, or silly — Johnson is no Evanovich. But the atmosphere of the book, the relationships between Vic, the Ferg, Henry, Cady and Walt are effortless, they feel like coworkers and friends. So even when the bodies start to pile up, the external pressures mount, and answers are in short supply, there’s an ease to things that make the book more entertaining than it could’ve been. Even as Sheriff, Walt still comes across as deferential and secondary to his former boss Lucian Connally (though he doesn’t hesitate to put his foot down when necessary).

When Lucian tells Walt in no uncertain terms that a death in the retirement home he lives in is not from natural causes, he has to investigate. Even if he’s not entirely convinced. It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that Lucian’s right — otherwise, we wouldn’t have a novel to read. Which takes Walt on a journey through the the murky history of both one of Walt’s oldest friends and the area he calls home — this time with a different minority group as the focus (though the Rez and its inhabitants are always lurking around in the background).

There’s a new romantic interest in these pages — as well as a couple of new deputies for Absaroka County (the particular skill set of one of these is a bit too deus ex machina-y for my tastes, but he’s so likable, who cares?). Throw in the kind of snow storm you can only get in rural Wyoming (or areas like it) and some brushes with Indian spirituality, and you get a distinctive kind of mystery novel, making the adventures of Walt Longmire and his cohorts the kind of story you can get nowhere else. It won’t take me as long to come back to this series next time.

I had no idea where to fit this into the review, but I thought Walt’s observation deserved to be repeated — due to its wisdom as well as the way it’s phrased:

Everything to do with women is foolish, and, therefore, absolutely essential.


3.5 Stars

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