“Dry Bones” by Craig Johnson. (Walt Longmire #11)

*Read between 24th and 29th September 2018

When the largest, most complete fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex is discovered in Absaroka County, it would appear to have nothing to do with Walt. That is until the Cheyenne rancher on whose land she’s found is himself found face down in a turtle pond.

As a number of parties vie for ownership of the priceless remains, including rancher Danny Lone Elk’s family, the Cheyenne tribe, the Deputy Attorney General, and a cadre of FBI men, Walt must recruit undersheriff Victoria Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, and Dog to investigate a sixty-six million-year-old cold case that’s starting to heat up fast.

 

One of the things that I really enjoy about the Longmire mysteries is that, whilst reading them, I learn a little about disparate facts and subjects that I previously had little knowledge.

Mr Johnson is adept at distilling information into his stories, slowly adding fresh details into each layer and creating an immersive and absorbing read. With this book, number eleven in the series, I have learned several intriguing nuggets about dinosaurs. I do not know when I may have to call on them, but they are there, deep down, should I need to.

It is this level of detail that enriches each new Longmire tale and keeps the series fresh and rich, and still absorbing and rewarding with each new release.

The author has created fictional characters that we have come to love – to be truthful, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with them at all; I was hooked on them partway through “The Cold Dish”. Each has grown as the series has lengthened and we have followed their development with gusto.

However, it is never safe to get too attached to anyone in the Longmire world as some of Walt’s previous visions, possibly they were hallucinations, begin to prove prophetic. To avoid any spoilers, that’s all I will say.

The seemingly simple discovery of the T-Rex, named “Jen” after the woman who found her, soon brings a heap of trouble to Durant. With the arrival in town of Skip Trost, an overly eager and ambitious Acting Deputy U.S. Attorney, and a team of FBI agents adding to his personal worries, Walt soon has a dinosaur-sized problem to contend with.

I like how the author brings facets of earlier stories effortlessly into each new novel. In this one, a dangerous figure from Walt’s past once again emerges to threaten and darken his days. This familiarity with characters as they are woven into new tales is a major factor in keeping the series fresh and invigorating.

This is a tale of love and revenge, of loyalty and greed. And it is yet another scintillating excursion into Absaroka County with our Sheriff.

And the comic touches are, once again, a joy. I’m sure that you too will enjoy the scenes where Walt and the team, especially Vic, help Double Tough to colour match his eye!

I may be wrong but I am becoming increasingly alert to the fact that, in the forthcoming books, characters and events will soon collide with devastating consequences. And, given Mr Johnson’s ruthlessness with his characters, I’m not sure if all of our favourites will survive.

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