A Serpent's Tooth
A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson
Review: As an elected official, Sheriff Walt Longmire's job includes trying to understand the grievances of the citizens of his county by listening to people and helping them with their problems, even when it seems their problems may be imaginary. Thus was the case of Barbara Thomas, an 82-year-old woman, who claims that for the past two weeks an angel had come to make repairs around her home. She had made a short list, she said, of things to be done and lo and behold before she knew it the railing on her porch was fixed. Then her gutters were unclogged, a screen door was repaired, and so on. It turns out the "angel" is a real person, young Cord Lynear, a lost boy, who had been ex-communicated from the newly organized Mormon compound in Absaroka County, searching for his mother in A Serpent's Tooth, the ninth mystery in this series by Craig Johnson.
Longmire is aware of the cult that has moved into the county, but to date they're kept to themselves and he's had no reason to deal with them directly. Until now. Longmire, his undersheriff Victoria "Vic" Moretti, and his longtime friend Cheyenne Chief Henry Standing Bear, start out on a high plains hunt in hopes of reuniting mother and son, a trek on which all too soon it becomes likely that Cord's mother is dead, probably murdered. Their trail leads them into a barbed wire fenced-in stockade with watch towers sheltering an interstate polygamy group that is reigning over a huge supply of weapons. Run by the four-hundred pound Roy Linear, Cord's father, the sect has much to hide and much more for Walt Longmire and his associates to discover.
There are a number of mysteries for Longmire to solve in A Serpent's Tooth, which makes for a slightly overcomplicated story. The topical issues of the region are nicely integrated here, but almost come across as too localized. Part of the reason to read any of the books in this series is to be a part of the setting, to get lost in the vastness and beauty of Absaroka County, and yet this book seems not so inviting to outsiders, i.e. readers not residents of the Rocky Mountain states. No doubt that feeling comes in part from the conflict presented in storyline itself, an illustration of how powerful the writing is here. Still, the characters are appealing and the plot is suspenseful and well developed. All things considered, a mystery well worth reading.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Serpent's Tooth.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of A Serpent's Tooth for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Viking (Ebook), April 2013
ISBN-13: 9781101636541; ISBN-10: 1101636548
Any Other Name
Viking (Hardcover), May 2014
ISBN-13: 9780670026463; ISBN-10: 0670026468
Location(s) referenced in A Serpent's Tooth: Wyoming
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A Serpent's Tooth by Craig Johnson — A Walt Longmire Mystery
Publication Date: June 2013
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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