Another in the excellent Longmire mystery series, and let’s just cut to the chase. That’s a damn good thing, the series and this book. Sorry to say that I’ve missed a few episodes, and evidently Walt Longmire went through some serious stuff while I was away, but Walt and I go way back, so we took up like it was just yesterday. The mystique of wolves, a mysterious pest of a woman in a Tibetan cap, Basque shepherds and herding dogs, Longmire’s own monstrous canine Dog, the rugged beauty of Wyoming and an ailing, but still determined Walt Longmire. Yep. Temperature was in the 90’s here when I read this, but I was wearing a fleece lined jacket, riding in a 4X4 pick-up through the snowy mountains of Wyoming with Dog in the back. And there are braying mules, too. Every good story is improved by a jackass or two. Yep. So true. If you don’t know Longmire, jump in. If you only know Longmire from the TV series, you ain’t nothing but a city slicker. Take your Longmire straight – from the page. Real men read.
We’ve all been told that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, and this book has that going on with a title that should live forever. First line is good, too. A killer – literally. “I was leading the cows to the milking shed when my pa shot Mr. Webber.” Nothing, not one thing could have stood between me and this book after that glorious beginning. The Heavens opened, and the angels sang. However……….oh, hold my hand, please, while I confess. Further reading betrayed me, and I found myself determined to dislike this one, to find fault. Melodramatic, a book in search of a direction, hyper-indulgent descriptive language, sentences that rambled on forever. In other words, I was peevish and digging it. Continued to read, though, maybe just to see how bad it could be, but author Olivia Hawker continued as well. Stitch by stitch, she built a gorgeous tapestry of a book – this very book – and my gnarly old heart had to relent. I gave it up to her work, and the angels sang once more.
Ms. Hawker says she wanted to write about death, however the book she wrote (perhaps inevitably so) is about life and the living – the eternal cycle, the hopeful over and over of all living things. Just to set the scene for you, it’s 1876 in the Wyoming territories, and the Webber and Bemis families have adjoining homesteads twenty miles away from Paintrock, the nearest town. No other neighbors, and there is bad blood between the two families. Death? It was never far away in those days. You will fret and worry and care. Maybe you’ll find a little fault, too, but it’s been a long time since a book earned my respect as this one did. Worked for it. Imagine that. High praise, and enough said. Readers, expect to be rewarded.
This title flew into bookstores back in October so shop your local indie bookstore for a copy.
Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided to me by Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank the publisher, the author and NetGalley for providing me this opportunity. All opinions expressed herein are my own.