Death Without Company (2006)
Series: Walt Longmire, #2
Category: Police Procedural
“[A] life without friends means death without company.” -Basquos proverb
Sheriff Walt Longmire finds himself looking into the death of an elderly Basque woman living in a nursing home in Absaroka County. His former boss and mentor, Lucian Connally, tells Walt that Mari Baroja was murdered and asks him to bring in the medical examiner. Lucian once knew Mari and the two have a history that spans about five decades. Lucian describes Mari as being very beautiful when he first met her. The family –her uncles –didn’t approve of their relationship. There’s some sordid stuff that goes on. Into the investigation it’s found that Mari’s relationship with her children was strained. She also had a life filled with domestic abuse. The medical examiner eventually signs off on her death certificate, saying it is indeed a homicide. The motive is not very inventive and has to do with the greenback and the methane boom.
My take on this second book in the series is that the plot was rather weak compared to the first book. I think the story transcends any flaws that pertain to the mystery because the writing is so rich in other things like the descriptions of the rugged landscape and the harsh weather that is always freezing cold. The descriptive details of the outdoors is very vivid. Also the interplay between Walt and his deputy, Victoria Moretti who goes by “Vic” is quite interesting. She’s foul-mouthed and recently divorced. I like her. Is the author trying to make them into a romantic couple? I’m behind so I won’t get the answer to my question until I’ve finished all 8 books in the series. Unless someone wants to spoil it for me? The chemistry between them is pretty thick and strong but Walt keeps putting up a barrier and I should think so since she’s about the same age as his daughter, Cady, who puts in an appearance after being talked about between this book and the last. I honestly didn’t think she would show up.
Anyway that’s the basic premise. The events in the book take place about a month after the last book. Since that time, Walt’s grown a beard and adopted a dog that he hasn’t named yet. I didn’t find the follow-up as gripping as the first book in the series – THE COLD DISH – but I will continue to read them. Second books are almost always harder than the first I’m told. Walt still narrates and the humor in here is still funny. Walt’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear wasn’t in here enough for me and he’s my favorite character. Walt seems to be a lady magnet. He hooks up briefly with a woman who breezes into town. She’s the property manager from the Wyoming State Treasury Department. There was more sparks flying between Vic and Walt though. Let the dance begin.
I couldn’t help but notice that certain characters introduced happened to have some skill or knowledge to help Walt out on his current homicide case. It just so happens that he hires a new deputy, a former corrections officer, who just so happens to speak – Basque. Hey in life there are coincidences. Some characters are fleshed out with their own little side stories which I enjoyed. There’s a doctor who survived the Nordhausen extermination camp. I wish there was more info on the Basque culture but that would be going in a tangential direction. Walt and his interactions with the community is what sticks out best in these books thus far. The violence is really toned down or implied compared to other books in this genre. There are forensic details in here but this author doesn’t seemed too interested in giving you every single gory detail like some other writers. He does seem interested in guns though. Lastly there is the spirit world of the Cheyenne that show up when Walt’s in mortal danger. Those scenes tend to make me want to skim.
Overall, this is a decent and quick read for those who like atmospheric novels and an engaging protagonist. The books have been picked up by A&E under the title, Longmire. I’ve heard the show is pretty good so far. I think I’ll pass. Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry Standing Bear? Uh, no. There are now 8 books in the series that started with THE COLD DISH with all being available in digital (agency priced) and print. My grade for this entry would be a solid B. In the hands of somebody else with this plot this book would have been an DNF. I’m not sure if I’m gonna like everybody in the town being the next target or victim. I shall see how it all plays out. The first book is still my favorite.
Source: I bought this one
- REVIEW: The Cold Dish, By: Craig Johnson (avidmysteryreader.com)