An extended battle for kin and spirit in the Mexican desert.
This 14th installment of Johnson's Longmire series follows Absaroka County's redoubtable sheriff, Walt Longmire, deep into the Chihuahuan desert in search of his daughter, Cady, who has been kidnapped by Tomás Bidarte, the head of a drug cartel and a very bad guy. After a preliminary skirmish with American authorities, who try to restrain him from entering Mexico, Longmire acquires a band of companions and sets off across a forbidding landscape, hoping to reach Bidarte's stronghold before Cady is killed. In a nice early episode, Longmire is passed off to a Mexican colonel as Bob Lilly, the Dallas Cowboy star; other obstacles are not so easily overcome, and as Longmire nears his objective, the dead mount. Several characters warn Longmire that he will need to be ruthless to succeed, but even as the dead accumulate, Longmire adheres to his own moral code. He refrains from killing expat David Culpepper, one of Bidarte's lieutenants, when he has the opportunity because Culpepper is at his mercy, and the contrast between Bidarte's amoral readiness to kill for little or no reason and Longmire's reluctance to take a life if not compelled to do so is possibly overdrawn. The action spans a few days around the Día de los Muertos, which provides somewhat stereotypical opportunities for masked shenanigans and drink-addled confusion. Longmire himself is a nice creation, as ready with a reference to antiquity or a quote from literature as he is handy in a brawl; his allies are satisfyingly varied and colorful, and the bad guys are ruthless and unprincipled. 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.