HELL IS EMPTY by Craig Johnson


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For Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire (Junkyard Dogs, 2010, etc.), the pursuit of a vicious murderer through a killer ice storm in the Bighorn Mountains adds up to a cold day in hell.

Sly, elusive Raynaud Shade is a homicidal maniac and a lawman’s nightmare. But at last he’s been caught. The confessed slayer of a 7-year-old boy is on his way to the slammer, almost certainly for the rest of his bloodthirsty life. And he knows it. So Absaroka County Sheriff Longmire, who has him in his custody, is quite reasonably uneasy. Not only is Shade a textbook psychopath, profoundly remorseless, he’s begun professing an affinity for Sheriff Walt, as if they were somehow partners in delusion, as if Walt, too, were “possessed by evil spirits” that forced him to kill on command. All of which is as unsettling to Walt as it is unavoidable, since the body of Owen White Buffalo, the dead boy in question, was discovered in Walt’s jurisdiction. The transport van advances circumspectly toward its destination until, in the mind-blowing ferocity of a sudden mountain storm, the slippery Shade manages to escape. Now a complex game’s afoot as lawman chases madman. Before it’s played out, the Bighorns, icily nonjudgmental, will have had their way with Walt, narrowing the sanity gap.

Deft as always, but dearly missed from this stark, wintry tale is grizzled Walt’s much younger lover, his feisty, tormenting, adorable girl of summer.

Pub Date: June 6th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-670-02277-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2011

Kirkus Interview
Craig Johnson
author of DRY BONES
May 12, 2015

In the latest installment of Craig Johnson’s bestselling Longmire series, Wyoming’s beloved lawman takes on his coldest case yet. When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum—until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government. "Johnson's crusty sheriff (Any Other Name, 2014, etc.) remains tough, smart, honest, and capable of entertaining fans with another difficult, dangerous case,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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