Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dry Bones - Craig Johnson

My review of Craig Johnson's Dry Bones first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission. Hope you enjoy!

First line: "She was close to thirty years old when she was killed."

In the eleventh novel of Craig Johnson's mystery series, beloved Absaroka County, Wyoming, sheriff Walt Longmire investigates the suspicious death of Danny Lone Elk. At first blush, it appears to be an accidental drowning. However, the recent discovery on Danny's property of what may be the largest ever tyrannosaurus rex skeleton leaves Walt with a sense of foul play.

Adding to the challenges of ascertaining whether Danny's death was murder or not, the archeological treasure initiates a battle over who possesses the legal rights to "Jen," so named for the scientist who initially discovered the prehistoric vestige. The Lone Elk family, High Plains Dinosaur Museum, Cheyenne tribal council and State of Wyoming are all scrambling to establish their claims, which leads to a rib-tickling circus-like atmosphere in the small town of Durant, complete with the slogan, "Save Jen!"

Even though Johnson's protagonist enforces the law in the least populated county in the least populated state in the country, he continues to keep the series fresh and innovative. In Dry Bones he accomplishes this through a "sixty-five-million-year-old cold case" with current social and political implications, as well as the authentic interpersonal relationships of vibrantly complex characters readers connect with passionately.

Devoted series fans won't feel a sense of déjà vu in Dry Bones, but they will easily identify Johnson's tendency toward innovated imagery (" brain felt like it was bouncing around like a sneaker inside a washing machine."), crack dialogue, humor and a strong sense of place. Absaroka's maker brings dem bones to life, and readers are sure to rejoice.

Dry Bones is available in hardcover from Viking (9780525426936) and as an unabridged audio (9781490673745), narrated by George Guidall, from Recorded Books--this series is amazing on audio!

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le0pard13 June 4, 2015 at 10:16 AM  

So tell me, Jen, did our good friend Craig Johnson name drop you in DRY BONES? Didn't he do that with LONGMIRE's Robert Taylor? "Save Jen." ;-)

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