Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Review: The Longmire Defense by Craig Johnson

The Longmire Defense by Craig Johnson finds Sheriff Longmire thinking about the past and a future beyond being the good Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. The next election is coming in a few months and Longmire might be done as Sheriff. Between the politics, the strain and stress of running for office yet again, and recent events, he could be working his way around to calling it quits.

He’s out at the family cabin in the Bighorn National Forest as the book begins and Cady, his daughter, inadvertently stirs up the past by cleaning the place. She came across an old picture of her great grandfather, Lloyd Longmire. Cady and his granddaughter are out at his place cleaning and keeping an eye on him as he recovers from recent events. She has questions about her great grandfather and Walt would just as soon not talk about him.

He might have been family in name, but he was a man that Walt had a rocky relationship with despite, or maybe because, of the family tie. He was a hard man with strong expectations and constantly passed judgement of others. That included his grandson, of whom he apparently did not think much of at all. The picture shows Lloyd Longmire and a group of others outside the Bank of Durant many years ago. That picture has started a line of questioning that Walt Longmire could do without as he lies in a hammock holding a book and his sleeping granddaughter.

Then Undersheriff Victoria Moretti shows up and drags him with her to go looking for a missing woman. The woman from Minnesota, who was following the navigation map on her phone and thus followed bad directions, got her car stuck on a relatively nearby Forest Service Road. She walked a bit, finally got cell service, called for help, and then instead of staying put and waiting for that help, left the area. Now she is missing and Undersheriff Moretti wants Longmire to come do a ride along with her to go check out a possible route the missing woman might have taken.

Recent events in Montana have a taken a toll and though he is physically healed, mentally and spiritually he isn’t, and he really doesn’t want to do it. But, with Cady pushing him as well, he goes with Moretti. and it isn’t long before the problem of the missing woman lost in the mountains.

Longmire finds Trisha Knox.

He also finds a rifle, a specially customized rifle, that could be tied into a killing from long ago.

The killing of Bill Sutherland, known as “Big Bill,” happened back in 1948 and was declared a hunting accident. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. But, Lloyd Longmire as well as Walt’s dad were involved. Finding the gun brings ghosts and more to life in a complicated tale of oil money, mercenaries, and politics in The Longmire Defense.

Much is going on in the read that spends most of the time looking at events in the past with a somewhat morose Walt Longmire more contemplative than usual. In the here and now, Walt is facing the possibility of big change in a couple of areas as well so that means he has a lot on his mind. Introspection is good and all that, but it does get to be a bit much here at times as it grinds the read to a near halt. This reader also gets the impression that the series might be ending fairly soon. One hopes not.

Despite everything, The Longmire Defense is a good read. The story keeps the reader engaged, even when it moves forward at a glacial pace, and we learn more about the Longmire family and their legacy. All in all, a good read.


My reading copy came in eBook form from the Dallas Public Library System by way of the Libby/OverDrive App.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2023


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