Sunday, April 25, 2021

Dry Bones - Craig Johnson


Dry Bones
(2015) is the eleventh novel in Craig Johnson’s soon-to-be-seventeen-book Sheriff Walt Longmire series. According to Johnson, Daughter of the Morning Star, that seventeenth Longmire novel is scheduled to be published on September 21, 2021, something I’m particularly happy about because as of right now I’m down to only one unread Longmire book, 2016’s An Obvious Fact.  


Dry Bones is one of the funniest — and one of the most tragic — books in the series. The humor largely comes via the comments springing from Deputy Victoria Moretti’s observations about the differences between life and policing in Absaroka County, Wyoming, and her native Philadelphia. The woman, who is also Sheriff Longmire’s love interest, calls them like she sees them no matter the audience or circumstances, and half the fun in Longmire novels comes from watching the other characters react to what she blurts out. It is no accident that most of my favorite Longmire novels are the ones in which she is given her larger roles. Unfortunately for Walt, the tragedy that plays a major role in Dry Bones strikes directly at him and his family, and its impact will be strongly felt even in subsequent books.


“Jen,” the eight-million-dollar Tyrannosaurus rex, has put Absaroka County on the map to a degree that no one could have expected — or have been prepared for. Now, potential buyers from all over the world, including every major museum in the US, want to get their hands on what is likely to be the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever seen. Jen’s potential eight-million-dollar price tag does not much worry any of them except for the local High Plains Dinosaur Museum whose director wants so badly to keep Jen at home. Soon enough, “Save Jen” becomes the local rallying cry.


But after Danny Lone Elk, the man on whose property the fossil was discovered, turns up dead before his agreement with the High Plains Dinosaur Museum has been formalized, multiple parties come forward to claim Jen as their own: Danny’s family, the tribe, and even the federal government. And it doesn’t help that the comically pompous acting deputy attorney shows up in town along with the FBI to oversee the whole process. Someone wanted Danny Lone Elk dead, and now it’s up to Walt Longmire, his deputies, and his best friend Henry Standing Bear to figure out who that is.


Bottom Line: Dry Bones is a pivotal novel in the Walt Longmire series. What happens in this one will lead directly to the plots and themes of some of the books that follow after a villain from Walt’s past comes back to haunt him and his family in an unimaginable way. Even though I didn’t do it that way myself, because the Longmire series is one of those whose greatest impact comes from a chronological reading, I suggest that the books be read in order of publication as much as possible.  


Craig Johnson

6 comments:

  1. One of the things I love the most about this series is when Vic is allowed to let her mouth run free. If you haven't read An Obvious Fact yet, you're in for a real treat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good to know, Cathy. That one is sitting on top of my desk right now, but it will be a while before I read it. Last one I have left to read before this new one comes out.

      Delete
  2. I love the characters in this series and all of the mysteries are so compelling. I'm so looking forward to the next book which Cathy mentioned this morning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too, Jen. Can't wait. I'm as fond of that little community that the Sheriff lives in as I am of Penny's Three Pines...different as they, and the residents of each, are.

      Delete
  3. Some series really need to be read in order! I love that this particular book involves a T-Rex skeleton. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one didn't start out as a series that should be read in order, but in the last few years it's turned into one if you really want to understand the motivations of the various main characters from one book to the next. Turns out I kind of like it that way better. That's when it really started to come to life for me.

      Delete