Dry BonesCraig Johnson serves up another brilliant mystery in the latest Walt Longmire novel, Dry Bones.

The unearthing of the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered is great news for Absaroka Country and its High Plains Dinosaur Museum. The priceless remnants have put Sheriff Longmire’s jurisdiction on the map, and he’d be content to watch the fuss made over it from afar. But when the body of Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains surfaced, is found floating face-down in a pond full of ravenous turtles, the veteran lawman is called into action. And with various factions claiming ownership of the multi-million-dollar find, including Danny’s kin, his tribe, and a sizable FBI presence, these are muddy waters that Walt is treading into; and this is a murder investigation unlike any he’s ever faced.

Johnson’s long-running series, of which I’ve read maybe half, never cease to entertain, deftly balancing physical and cerebral danger with a dash of humour and plenty of heart. There’s an eloquence to Johnson’s prose that many of his contemporaries lack; an enviable simplicity to his storytelling. Dry Bones takes full advantage of its Wyoming backdrop, with Longmire trekking deep into its environment – always refreshing, given the plethora of urban crime novels we’re inundated with. By now, the series has developed a wide cast of supporting characters, and while I lacked familiarity with some of them – and the narrative assumes you’re cognizant of them, as there’s (thankfully) very little spoon-feeding – this was never detrimental to the story. Indeed, it was welcoming, and enticed me to delve back into earlier Longmire mysteries.

Dry Bones is as fine a mystery as I’ve read this year. If you’ve read the other books in the series, you’ll be pleased to know this one’s another winner. But newcomers shouldn’t shy away from Longmire’s thirteenth case. When you’re done, you’ll find yourself wanting to indulge in his rich history, and savouring every moment spent with the Sheriff.

My thanks to PENGUIN GROUP Viking for providing a digital copy of this book for review.

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