Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Review: First Frost: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

First Frost: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson picks up a few weeks after The Longmire Defense. It is a novel of two storylines. One storyline is set in the here and now as powerful and well-connected forces use a court hearing to go after Sheriff Walt Longmire for his actions at the end of the last book.


The other storyline is set in late May, 1964. Henry and Walt are embarking on a road trip as they head east from California to report for military service. Both have graduated from college and that meant their college deferment is over. The Vietnam War is well underway and Henry is to report to Fort Polk in Louisiana. Walt Longmire is to report to Parris Island in South Carolina. They have about a week to get where they need to be in order to comply with their orders. They are talking Walt’s old farm truck and will go east, through Oklahoma, so that Henry Standing bear can visit relatives, before hitting Fort Polk and then Parris Island.


At least that was the plan.


After a slow start out of California due to some questions from the local police after they save some folks off of a sinking boat, they get on I-40 heading east. It is after many hours of travel, dep in the night,, somewhere in Arizona (they think), when everything goes sideways, literally, and they wind up in a ditch. The result is a right front wheel bent horribly off at an angle indicating major damage. The only answer at their isolated location is to walk for help.


After some walking, they find the small barely existing town of Bone Valley. There are hardly any people and most of the structures are boarded up and locked in one way or another. It is clear from the start of their arrival that it is a strange place and haunted by something horrible that happened many years earlier. What happened is something the few local left don’t want to talk about or deal with as they are desperate to keep the secrets buried and avoid all outsiders. The arrival of Walt and Henry, who can’t easily be sent on their way as soon as possible, are a problem for that goal.


In the here and now, the good Sheriff is involved in a court hearing where he has to testify regarding his actions at the end of the last book. I can’t go into more detail without creating spoilers and I never do that. I can say that if you have not read The Longmire Defense, it would be best to do so before reading this book, as the events in the climax of that book are the main issue in this storyline.


The two storylines, decades apart run independently as this book moves forward and steadily entertains the reader. As always in this series, the past is major part of the here and now. First Frost: A Longmire Mystery is a read that once again touches on friendship, faith, morality, and legacy. As has been pointed out in this series before, regardless of the intent, noble or otherwise, our actions can, and often do, have a lasting impact far beyond what is seen at the time.


First Frost: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson is another really good read in this long running series. One that should be read in order, as always.



Amazon Associate Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/4aDdWHJ



My digital ARC was provided by the publisher, Penguin Group/Viking through NetGalley.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2024

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