It has been two months since the events in the harrowing Hell Is Empty and Sheriff Walt Longmire is once again on the edge of disaster. This time it is because his daughter Cady is getting married. She is getting married in few days and now the spot they were supposed to have reserved on the nearby Indian Reservation is no longer available.
Instead Henry Standing Bear and Walt are supposed to make other arrangements. After getting a tip that a nearby location known as “Painted Warrior” might be the perfect substitute place, Walt and Henry go over there. Without a doubt it is a beautiful spot with high cliffs, a box canyon at the base and definitely a stunning image in the rock face. Unfortunately, Walt and Henry are just in time to see a woman fall to her death from the top.
As the days pass bringing the wedding closer and closer Sheriff Walt Longmire spends nearly all of his time on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation helping with an investigation into the young woman’s death. Along the way he clashes with the new tribal police chief Lolo Long, attends a peyote ceremony, nearly gets killed more than once, and does very little to help with any wedding plans.
The eighth book in the series is another good one though not nearly as good as Hell Is Empty. Many of the normal characters are not present and have been replaced by a tremendous number of new characters all living on or near the reservation. While the elements of plot and scenic descriptions are all there the read never comes quite together to really grab the reader. That may or may not be due to the large cast of new characters, the fact that the book meanders all over the place, the fact that Sheriff Walt Longmire is nearly never at home¸ or a host of other issues. The bottom line is this book just is not nearly as good. A certain up and down quality to a series is expected and that certainly is true here in a read that while good, is not anywhere near the level of the last book.
Those who are new to the books because of the “Longmire” television series on A & E should understand that there are significant differences between the television series and the books. Not just in casting or the fact that the series was shot in New Mexico instead of Wyoming, but in terms of story points and plots. While this novel could be read as a stand-alone it would be best to read the series in order starting with the very good The Cold Dish.
As the Crow Flies: A Walt Longmire Mystery
Viking (Penguin Group)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. Again this year the summer reading challenge for adults and kids is now underway. For more information go to
Kevin R. Tipple ©2012
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