Review of ‘Dry Bones: A Walt Longmire Mystery’ by Craig Johnson

Dry-Bones Craig Johnson, Dry Bones: A Walt Longmire Mystery (New York: Viking, 2015). Hardcover | Kindle

Like many people, I became aware of Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire mysteries through Longmire on A&E. (Netflix has acquired the show and will air its fourth season). The TV show is a different beast than the books. While I enjoy both, I still prefer the latter.

The mystery at the heart of Dead Bones is the death of Danny Lone Elk. Lone Elk owns a ranch on which a large, complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton has just been unearthed. The find is worth millions to whoever owns it. But Lone Elk’s ownership is contested among the federal government, the Cheyenne reservation, and the Lone Elk family. And then, of course, there’s the question of whether Lone Elk died naturally or was murdered.

Longmire works through these questions in his characteristic Absaroka County way. There’s the patient questioning of witnesses, the mystical experiences, the encounters with a nature indifferent to human wellbeing, and the sly sense of humor.

One of my favorite gags in this book is the stoically raised fist and incantation of the words, “Save Jen.” (Jen is the name of the T-rex whom the Absaroka residents want to keep at the local dinosaur museum.) Trust me, it gets funnier as the book goes along.

I’m a huge Longmire fan. As much as I enjoyed this book—and I enjoyed it a lot and read it in one evening—I didn’t think this was the best installment in the series. It’s not bad, mind you. (I can’t imagine a bad story by Craig Johnson.) It’s just not the best.

Even so, if you like the other Longmire books, I know you’ll like this one.


P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my review page.


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