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Death Without Company: A Walt Longmire Mystery (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Craig Johnson

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4993220,441 (3.99)113
Member:herschelian
Title:Death Without Company: A Walt Longmire Mystery
Authors:Craig Johnson
Info:Penguin Books (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, BJ
Rating:****
Tags:crime fiction, Walt Longmire series, Wyoming, Western crime, Native Americans

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Death Without Company by Craig Johnson (2006)

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This book is the second of a series featuring Walt Longmire, the wise, gnarled sheriff of (fictional) Absaroka County, Wyoming. This one follows an elaborate series of plot twists after the death of Mari Baroja, an elderly Basque woman living in an assisted living facility. Her next door neighbor, Lucian Connally, who happens to be Longmire’s predecessor as sheriff, suspects her death was the result of foul play. Soon, attempts (some successful) are made on the lives of other people who played a part in Mari’s early life.

Walt Longmire eventually solves the mystery with the help of his faithful Indian companion and semi-superhero, Henry Walking Bear, but not without a few close calls and a great deal of discomfort. The action takes place in the winter, which in Wyoming can be exceedingly cold, a fact that the author never lets us forget. The characters in the sheriff’s department are uniformly quirky, interesting, and lovable.

I liked this book quite a bit and plan to read others in the series.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | May 19, 2015 |
Death Without Company is the second book in Craig Johnson's "Longmire" series and I liked it better than "The Cold Dish," the first entry in the series. Improvements: The snarky style humor is dialed down a notch and the character of the foul-mouthed deputy is broadened a bit. We still get a sense of humor. I think the "woo-woo" mysticism and dream sequences are also a little better here, though they still bother me a bit. Downside: I thought a budding romance in the first novel was well done, but in the second it seemed to be included almost as an afterthought - it started off intriguing and then really fell by the side. The other downside to me is having Longmire, not a young man, be a bit too much of a superman.

The mystery in here is intriguing, but what really is the charm of the books are the characters and setting. This novel really builds off the characters we met in the first novel, adds a couple new ones and broadens the depth a lot, especially with the former sheriff Lucian Connelly. The people here have some pretty interesting pasts. The rural nature of the Wyoming country is brought to life vividly.

I listened to nearly half the story as an audiobook, but the pace was a little too slow for me and without close focus on listening I felt like I was missing a few bits. I ended up re-reading most of what I had listened to with a paper copy and finished the novel up that way. The narration of the audiobook is well done, I'm just not a good audiobooker I think. I read here there and everywhere. ( )
  RBeffa | May 2, 2015 |
I really do love this series! The cast of characters in Powder Junction is growing and I like them all: Lucian, the grumpy retired Sheriff; Vic the foul-mouthed deputy; Ruby at the front desk; Henry The Bear, the wise Indian friend; the newbie deputy whose name I can't pronounce (Saizarbitoria); Dog, who is, well, the dog; and finally Walter Longmire, our hero Sheriff. This one starts off with the death of a senior citizen, Mari Baroja, at a nursing home and Lucian thinks that there was foul play. Secrets from the past emerge, people contest Mari's will, lives are threatened, some people die. The usual murder mystery formula, but there is humor and compassion in these books. An understanding of the lost and forgotten in life. It is fast-paced, endearing and fun. 3.8 ( )
  Berly | Apr 19, 2015 |
This was a classic Western cloaked as a mystery. Many of the myths of the Old West are alive and well in this novel, including Native American mysticism. It is peppered throughout this novel, just as it was in the first in this series. That said, the plot was not what this novel was about. In fact, it is one of the few mysteries that I have read that I figured out early on. What drives this story is the slow development of old mysteries that everybody knows about in the small town but no one will talk about. Small towns can be good at hiding secrets and the town in the story is no exception. Vic, the foul mouthed deputy was toned down, the connection between Henry and Walt was made clearer to the reader, old relationships explored and new ones introduced. In addition some new characters were added that brought depth and fleshed out the office situation.

The story centers around an often forgotten immigrant group that was important to the development of the West - the Basques. It also makes a point of letting the world in on a secret - old people have lived full and passionate lives and have stories to tell and stories to hide. One thing that the author also points out, at several different places in the story, is that of the elected nature of the office of Sheriff. He does not want the reader to forget that the Sheriff is responsible to the people. Not to the mayor, or anybody else, but to the people. They vote for him, or not, and this is responsibility to the people is a very Western idea that is not found in most mystery/detective or police procedural novels. ( )
1 vote benitastrnad | Apr 14, 2015 |
In the second book of the Longmire series, Johnson has written another good novel with great characters. The death of an old lady in an assisted living facility didn't seem unusual but Lucien, the former sheriff, insists on a full investigation which finds that she was poisoned. So, who would want to kill Mari Baroja?

I'm still enjoying the Longmire books more than the Hillerman mysteries but both are interesting and worth trying.
  hailelib | Apr 9, 2015 |
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Epigraph
Adiskidegabeko bizita, auzogabeko heriotza.

(A life without friends means death without company.)

- Basque proverb
Dedication
For Dorothy Caldwell Kisling (1930-2005)
for whom Istill look when I laugh
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"They used fire, back in the day."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
When Mari Baroja is found poisoned at the Durant Home for Assisted Living, Sheriff Longmire is drawn into an investigation that reaches back fifty years into the mysterious woman's past.

Her connections to Wyoming's Basque community, the lucrative coal-bed methane industry, and the personal life of the previous sheriff, Lucian Connally, lead to a complex web of half-truths and assumed alliances.

Aided by his friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and newcomer Santiago Salizarbitria, Sheriff Longmire must connect events of the past to the present to find a killer.

Death Without Company is a riveting tale of the unspeakable viciousness that can lurk in the most beautiful and unlikely places.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143038389, Paperback)

Walt investigates a death by poison in this gripping novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cold Dish and As the Crow Flies, the second in the Walt Longmire Mystery Series, the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit A&E original drama series
 
Fans of Ace Atkins, Nevada Barr and Robert B. Parker will love Craig Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of Hell Is Empty and As the Crow Flies, who garnered both praise and an enthusiastic readership with his acclaimed debut novel featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire, The Cold Dish, the first in the Walt Longmire mystery series, the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit A&E original drama series. Now Johnson takes us back to the rugged landscape of Absaroka County, Wyoming, for Death Without Company. When Mari Baroja is found poisoned at the Durant Home for Assisted Living, Sheriff Longmire is drawn into an investigation that reaches fifty years into the mysterious woman’s dramatic Basque past. Aided by his friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and newcomer Santiago Saizarbitoria, Sheriff Longmire must connect the specter of the past to the present to find the killer among them.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"When Mari Baroja is found poisoned at the Durant Home for Assisted Living, Sheriff Longmire is drawn into an investigation of her death that proves to be as dramatic as her life. Her connections to the Basque community, the lucrative coal-bed methane industry, and the personal life of the previous sheriff, Lucian Connally, lead to a complex web of half-truths and assumed allegiances. As the specter of Mari's abusive husband arises, Sheriff Longmire, aided by his friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and newcomer Santiago Saizarbitoria, must connect the past to the present to find the killer among them."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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