Craig Johnson, Death Without Company (271 pages)
Reviewed by Marla Cartwright, Faculty Developer, Center for Teaching and Learning, Kaplan University
Who should read this book? Anyone who enjoys the “Longmire” television series on A&E, murder/mysteries, stories set out West, as well as stories that include an element of the supernatural or spiritual realm. Also, anyone who’s a fan of the tough yet flawed and sensitive/artistic protagonist (similar to P.D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh, Commander of New Scotland Yard and part-time poet).
Summary: When Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming learns of the recently deceased Mari Baroja from the local assisted living home, what appears to be death from natural causes quickly unravels into a decades-old case of spousal abuse, forced marriage, and retribution. The situation becomes more complicated because Walt’s old friend and former boss Lucian Connally also lives at the home and somehow has ties to the investigation. Will Longmire stand by Lucian his long-admired comrade and mentor? Or will he follow the letter of the law if Lucian is responsible for breaking the law?
If you’re already a “Longmire” fan, you will enjoy the crime solving and tension throughout the book. And you will be pleased to find not only Walt’s reliable yet understated dry wit, but also all of your favorite supporting characters: fiery Deputy Victoria (Vic) Moretti, lifelong friend Henry Standing Bear, dependable office manager Ruby, and all the rest. And I found it refreshing to see events through Walt’s point of view, something not quite apparent in the screen version.
Why I picked this book? I’m a fan of the “Longmire” television series on A&E and wanted to see how the novels compared; I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. All my favorite characters are here, as well as the wonderful blend of action/adventure, crime solving, the expansive Wyoming setting along with a deft touch of Native American spirituality. The book confirmed to me that the television series does ample justice to the books (which isn’t always the case with written-to-televised adaptations).
Favorite quote from the book: At the climax of the story, Walt falls into a frozen pond and encounters a vision of the deceased Mari Baroja; “Mari laughed and it was stunning. It lingered in a luxurious moment, and I studied the little laugh lines at the corners of her mouth; they were like friends I had forgotten.”