Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire and his sidekick, Henry Standing Bear, aka the Cheyenne Nation, venture to Philadelphia, which duly succumbs.
When Standing Bear is invited to travel from Wyoming to the Philadelphia Art Museum to display his vintage photographs, Walt comes along to look in on his daughter Cady, a legal associate about to celebrate her engagement to Devon Conliffe. But after Cady is assaulted and thrown into a coma on the steps of the Franklin Institute, Devon maintains that their relationship was merely casual, although 26 vitriolic messages on her answering machine say otherwise. Barely able to control his fury, Walt begins his own investigation. Together with Standing Bear, his deputy Vic “The Holy Terror” Moretti, and her Philadelphia relatives, he follows the trail of William White Eyes, a pro bono client of Cady’s with ties to her almost-fiancé, an ADA, and a few local drug distributors of note. The chase circles around Philadelphia’s Indian statuary, with pauses at the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, off of which someone throws Devon; a convenient alley, where the ADA gets done in; and Fairmount Park, where the venal tale of drugs, money laundering and cover-up comes to an end.
Johnson deftly integrates country and city sensibilities; makes Walt’s love and fear for Cady palpable; and casts a droll eye on Walt and romance. Even better than Death Without Company (2006): a must-read for both the tough and the tender-hearted.