Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars
When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum – until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government.
As Wyoming’s acting deputy attorney and a cadre of FBI officers descend on the town, Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death, enlisting old friends Lucian Connolly and Omar Rhoades – along with Dog and best friend Henry Standing Bear – to trawl the vast Lone Elk ranch, looking for answers to a 65-million-year-old cold case that’s heating up fast.
Not the first time I’ve reviewed a book by Craig Johnson, and I’m currently listening to another in the Walt Longmire mystery series. I absolutely love this series, and I’m sure in no small part owing to the narration by George Guidall. The CE and I burned through the Longmire TV series on Netflix, even trying to discipline ourselves and watch only three per night and now listening to the audiobooks can see those characters in each of the novels.
Wyoming and many of those northern states were the site of dinosaur finds, so many of the enlightening facts included here isn’t that far off non-fiction.
In this narrative, Danny Lone Elk is found dead in a pond and an archeologist named Jennifer discovers a tyrannosaurus rex she names Jen (on Lone Elk’s property). The problem stems from custody as it was found on a Cheyenne reservation, sparking quite the fight over ownership which would the funds possibly received in an auction. (And of course, few have not heard of Sue, the T-Rex found by an archeologist named Sue Hendrickson on the reservation. Yes, in auction we’re talking millions of dollars that eventually took Sue to the Chicago Field Museum.)
Given the extent of the find, the possible worth, and the custody battle, it’s quite the well-paced plot and he is still seeking answers to Danny Lone Elk, joined by his long time buddy, Henry Standing Bear, owner/operator of the Red Pony (“and continual soiree”).
Yes, okay, it’s a “western.” Sorta, but not. It does take place in Wyoming, after all, in (fictional) Absaroka County where Walt Longmire is sheriff. But this is a modern day western beautifully infused by the author’s atmospheric descriptions of the land and the people. And quite the diverse people they are—the traditions, the folklore. And the animals—horses—they still do have “cowboys” who ride horses and wear those hats.
And you can’t wish for a more disparate group of characters, from the stalwart protagonist Walt to Vic, his undersheriff (who lacks a mouth filter), and his faithful dog, Dog. The author imparts his sense of humor, Henry Standing Bear the wisdom and spirituality, and the women some testosterone control. There’s a reason they call it “the wild west.”
You can’t go wrong with a Longmire episode. Nice to have some knowledge of the characters, but you can start this series most anywhere as a standalone and quickly get up to speed. I’ve listened to a number of books in this series and reviewed a few including An Obvious Fact and The Highwayman. The novels are all great, some even better, and George Guidall is consistently excellent.
Genre: Native American Literature, Westerns
Publisher: Recorded Books
Print Length: 320 pages
Listening Length: 8 hrs 16 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Dry Bones
The Author: Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25.
©2021 V Williams