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HELL IS EMPTY by Craig Johnson


by Craig Johnson

Pub Date: June 6th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-670-02277-9
Publisher: Viking

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.