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Book Review – Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson

SynopsisA missing thumb and dead developers are only the beginning for Sheriff Walt Longmire.

It’s a volatile new economy in Durant, Wyoming, where the owners of a multi-million dollar development of ranchettes want to get rid of the adjacent junk-yard. When a severed thumb is discovered in the yard, conflicts erupt, and Walt Longmire, his trusty companion Dog, life-long friend Henry Standing Bear, and deputies Santiago Saizarbitoria and Victoria Moretti find themselves in a small town that feels more and more like a high plains pressure cooker.

First Line:  “I tried to get a straight answer from his grandson and granddaughter-in-law as to why their grandfather had been tied with a hundred feet of nylon rope to the rear bumper of the 1968 Oldsmobile Toronado.”

Random Quote:  “I was looking forward to my burrito and figured I could rummage a couple of extra blankets from the linen closet at the jail, since on seriously cold nights it sometimes got a little nippy in the concrete holding cells.  I wondered if I was getting to be like those old cons who couldn’t sleep unless there were bars on the doors and windows – now that was a really depressing thought.

ReviewJunkyard Dogs is the sixth book in Craig Johnson‘s Walt Longmire series and I have no idea how I missed these books before now.  Craig Johnson is funny – not in a trying-to-hard-forced kind of way, but in a certain twist of phrase and mind that sees and shares the humor in life kind of way.

Walt Longmire is a widowed sheriff who’s not getting any younger.  His territory is a small town in Wyoming and he knows it like you know your childhood home.  Joined by his deputies, most notably his on-again/off-again girlfriend Vic, Longmire is tasked with the day-to-day law enforcement of a small town where occasionally someone gets murdered.

This is a Western, in the sense that it’s set in Wyoming and has a Sheriff and even real live Native Americans, but its Western flavor is the least important thing about the book.  Rather it’s the storytelling, the sense of place, the dry humor, great characters, and plain old good storytelling.

In Junkyard Dogs there is a complicated set of interconnected events having to do with an eccentric old man who runs a junkyard, a developer, and the developer’s mother (who just might be in love).  I really enjoyed how all the plot elements had pieces of history to them – the characters share a place and context within their small town and these play out across the broader plot line of the crimes.

Mr. Johnson almost makes me want to move to Wyoming – except for that whole snow over the roofline thing.  I hate to be cold.  This series has been optioned for a series on A&E called Longmire.  The series has great casting:

Walt Longmire – Robert Taylor (from The Matrix)
Victoria Moretti – Katee Sackhoff (from Battlestar Galactica)
Henry – Lou Diamond Phillips

If the writing on the series is as good as the writing in this book, I’ll be a regular viewer.

FTC Disclosure:  Copy received from publisher for review


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