Depth of Winter: A Longmire Mystery (英語) ハードカバー – 2018/9/4
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The new novel in Craig Johnson's beloved New York Times bestselling Longmire series.
Welcome to Walt Longmire's worst nightmare. In Craig Johnson's latest mystery, Depth of Winter, an international hit man and the head of one of the most vicious drug cartels in Mexico has kidnapped Walt's beloved daughter, Cady, to auction her off to his worst enemies, of which there are many. The American government is of limited help and the Mexican one even less. Walt heads into the one-hundred-and-ten degree heat of the Northern Mexican desert alone, one man against an army.
Praise for Depth of Winter
“Harrowing . . . Johnson is in fine form.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“This is a rip-roaring adventure, and if Longmire seems uncannily able to recover from blows to the head and other injuries that would disable a lesser man, well, that's what it takes to defeat this ‘monster among monsters.’ The sheriff as the spirit of Quixote, riding a mule to the rescue.”
"Crack dialogue, smart humor, mystical realism, strong sense of place and colorful, complex characters."
"It’s a new setting for Longmire, but old scores are settled in this page-turner fans will love."
“This is one hell of a book. . . Depth of Winter is a great new novel by the fabulous Craig Johnson. For longtime fans of the Walt Longmire series, this book will, without doubt, be a true gem to read.”
Praise for Craig Johnson and the Longmire series
“It’s the scenery—and the big guy standing in front of the scenery—that keeps us coming back to Craig Johnson’s lean and leathery mysteries.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Like the greatest crime novelists, Johnson is a student of human nature. Walt Longmire is strong but fallible, a man whose devil-may-care stoicism masks a heightened sensitivity to the horrors he’s witnessed.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Johnson’s trademarks [are] great characters, witty banter, serious sleuthing, and a love of Wyoming bigger than a stack of derelict cars.”
—The Boston Globe
“Stepping into Walt’s world is like slipping on a favorite pair of slippers, and it’s where those slippers lead that provides a thrill. Johnson pens a series that should become a ‘must’ read, so curl up, get comfortable, and enjoy the ride.”
—The Denver Post
“Johnson’s hero only gets better—both at solving cases and at hooking readers—with age.”
This surprised me. The setup of the novel is good. At the end of The Western Star, Longmire’s archnemesis Tomas Bidarte had kidnapped Cady, fled to Mexico, and dared Longmire to come and get her (and him). This sets up Depth of Winter as a suspense novel focused on rescue and revenge.
So why didn’t this setup work for me? Several reasons:
First, the novel is set in the badlands of Mexico, doesn’t include the usual cast of characters (e.g., Henry, Vic), and introduces other characters that won’t appear in any future Longmire capers. Plus, some of those characters—the legless, blind hunchback; the doctor/intelligence officer/anti-cartel vigilante; the mute Indian sniper—are caricatures, too overdrawn even for Longmire’s admittedly eccentric social network.
Second, what makes fiction work is the reader’s willing suspension of disbelief. The overdrawn characters made me pay more attention to how unrealistic the setup is. Longmire is going to the heart of Mexican cartel country in order to rescue his daughter and kill his enemy. Alone? At his age?
Longmire graduated from USC and served in Vietnam. He was in country during the Tet Offensive, which took place in 1968. At minimum, that means he’s 22 in 1968, which means he was born in 1946. (One estimate I saw online estimates his birthyear as 1943.) If the events of Depth of Winter are contemporary, that means Longmire is in his early to mid-70s. And he takes the hardships and beatings in this story as well as he does? I don’t thinks so.
Third, Johnson’s previous novels in this series have been mysteries. There’s a crime, and Longmire solves it. Suspense novels work somewhat differently. There’s a complex problem that needs to be solved, but the question is whether the protagonist will solve it in time. Obviously, readers know that Longmire will at minimum get his daughter back and live, so the question is how tight his escapes will be, how just-in-time he’ll solve the problem. Unfortunately, given the problems I mentioned in my first two points, the tightness and just-in-timeness factors weren’t believable.
As I said at the outset, I’ve been a fan of Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series, so I regret to file such a poor review of it. I’ll give Johnson one more novel in this series to recapture my interest, but at this point, absent a great follow-up novel to this one, I think it’s time for the sheriff to retire.
Warning, there’s a fair amount of violence – okay, it reeks of violence - but he’s dealing with a cartel. And yes, I kind of missed not having his buddy Henry and girlfriend Vic to add their spice, except for end-game cameos…but the new characters added new dimensions. (Of course, he still had a wing man and there was a pretty woman.) It really, really irked me whenever a good guy was killed, but that just made me want to keep reading and was evidence that author Johnson made me care about them. I took this book ‘as is’, and it delivered the action.
Walt is a man of few words and he doesn’t veer far from the classic cowboy stereotype. If he says he’s going to rescue his daughter…well you can count on him doing just that. Even with all the ominous warnings from both US authorities and reliable Mexican insiders – doesn’t matter. His mind is made up. And we love that quality.
He can be a curmudgeon, but his brain seems to operate at a lively rate because he doesn’t miss much and improvises handily. Plus, he has a sly wit; I couldn’t help smiling a number of times. And, he’s not shy. For instance, he kept asking if anyone else had encountered scorpions in their room the night before, and one gathers he was distinctly NOT happy about his experience.
May he ride again.