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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review - Junkyard Dogs

Today I am finally reviewing the newly released book by Craig Johnson.  You can read the interview he gave me here.  Take a look at the review - it might surprise you, it sure did me.

Author: Craig Johnson

Copyright:  May 27, 2010 (Viking Adult); 306 pgs

Series: #6 in The Walt Longmire Mysteries

Sensuality: Some "F" words and swearing throughout, otherwise mild

Mystery sub-genre: Small Town Police Procedural

Main Character: Sheriff Walt Longmire

Setting: Current day Durant, Wyoming
Obtained book through: Publisher supplied in exchange for an honest review

The Sheriff, and his deputies Victoria (Vic) and Santiago(Sancho) are out in sub-zero temperatures investigating the local junk man who got dragged behind a car for a few miles and survived it (he had been on any icy roof cleaning the chimney and secured himself by rope to the car).  That is how this novel begins, somewhat tongue-in-cheek but three deaths later it is clear that the rural community of Durant Wyoming has a winter crime spree going.  The sheriff has to pick through the first two incidents piecing together the unlikely criminal alliances that had breed in the small town between a junkman, a land developer and a sleeper Aryan Nation gang member.

This book is a soft hard-boiled with humor to keep from getting too bleak.  In line with the somewhat hard boiled aspect the characters are well defined and layered.  Under-sheriff Victoria is a hot-blooded Italian and prior Philadelphia police officer and has the killer attitude to go along with it all.  Santiago is of Basque decent and recently had a close call in the line of duty and is now experiencing post-traumatic-stress from the incident while dealing with a newborn at home.

Walt is the Sheriff you want on your side.  He has a heart way under his sheriff-tough-hide and all the scars he has accumulated from his job. Walt's closest friends are his Saint Bernard/German Shepherd mix dog - named Dog, and Henry Standing Bear (Walt fondly refers to as The Cheyenne Nation) and prior sheriff Lucian.  Walt is a widower of six years now and finds that his body is showing the wear of getting beat up by the job and his heart is dangerously opening to his own deputy - Victoria.
"How's your ass?"

I responded conversationally.  "Fine, how's yours?"


David Nickerson, Isaac's new resident, was on EMT duty and had just finished stitching up my posterior when Vic barged in...

"You always provide us with the most pleasant environs for our work."

"I try."

"I guess I should congratulate you on finding an entirely new place on your body for scars."

Nickerson straightened behind me.  He had applied a large gauze patch over my wound, or at least that's what it felt like through the dull ache of the local anesthetic with which he'd shot my right cheek.  "That's it."..

"You're sure I'm not going to need cosmetic work; that is my best side."
The plot is finely crafted with some ins and outs with a twist here and there. It all wraps up well and feels satisfying, well rounded and complete.  Good wrap up and I really liked the ending.  I didn't know what to expect from this book and I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised.  The writing style easily grew on me with its easy and homey element and I definitely will be visiting Durant Wyoming again.

If you like a bit more grit in your novels without a full hard boiled detective dosage, this is probably the ticket for you.  Give this book a try, I think you will be surprised like I was.

I couldn't resist sharing this video with you - enjoy!

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