Review: Junkyard Dogs, Craig Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mr Johnson and his hero, Walt Longmire, continue on a strong course in this volume. The reader learns more about our main characters as well as life in a rural state with its cornucopia of odd characters. These characters both make the story more thrilling but also serve to remind us how in a rural environment nearly everyone knows each other and how people’s quirks become their symbols.

Yet, I have begun to fear that if Mr Johnson continues at this pace, everyone in Absaroka County will end up dead soon. The tight pacing of the books, with barely a month or two in between each, hastens this problem as it now looks that the county which had barely seen murders before the first Longmire novel, has now got a fairly hefty account of these. I am hoping that the author realized this problem and tried to solve it in one of the upcoming books, but the pacing thus far doesn’t leave me much hope for this.

This pacing is best exemplified by the protagonist who always manages to injure himself in horrible ways, but is yet “man enough” to macho through, ignore medical advice, and nothing bad happens. It’s a small surprise that Walt has got to his age with this attitude, and I’m more than tired of this blockheadedness. It was therefore a mildly pleasant surprise to see the old sheriff actually go to a medical appointment and to cure things after that. Again, a bit more time in between the action and a bit healthier a lifestyle would be really good choices by the author in order to ensure that Walt makes it to his octogenarian years.

The crime, this time round, involves a missing finger and a junkyard. The author’s personal connection with the setting was a pleasure to behold even if in general the story was not as good as some of the previous criminal incidents. Geo was a fun character to have around—definitely my favourite minor character of this book—who introduced the reader to the indomitable small town fellow: undaunted and irascible (“gaddamned insurance”).

Despite my criticism, I continue to like the Longmire series. It’s a nice way to pass the time and, reading the author’s words, I feel as if I am in Absaroka County, Wyoming.

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