“Depth of Winter: A Longmire Mystery” by Craig Johnson is a bit of a misnomer as the book breaks from the series’ normal routine of mystery and finds the titular character in an adventurous thriller.
The novel follows on the heels of the events of the previous novel, “The Western Star.” It finds Walt Longmire, the sheriff of fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming, chasing a leader of a drug cartel, Tomás Bidarte, to the deserts of Mexico to rescue his daughter Cady Longmire.
As if to continue the theme of turning the series on its head, the supporting cast draws from new characters as very few returning characters show up outside a few side mentions. The sheriff is joined by an eclectic crew on his hunt, including a mute sniper, a tattoo artist, a blind seer and a doctor turned militiaman.
However, the supporting cast doesn’t get fleshed out much and remains regulated to props to the character arc Longmire goes through in the novel. The book focuses primarily on the sheriff as he grapples with ghosts of his past and his sense of justice in the journey to rescue his daughter.
Longmire shows the tenacity and stubbornness of the donkey he rides into the Chihuahuan Desert, shrugging off blows that would fell a normal man. He continues his path throughout the book, even though he is constantly told the road he walks will lead to his doom.
The book starts off cutting the tension with a couple of light-hearted scenes, including Longmire passing himself off as former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Bob Lilly to escape the police. However, Johnson draws readers into a long drag out fight halfway through the book that will have them on the edge of their seats until the very end.
Johnson can paint a compelling backdrop with his words, beautifully painting the landscape and characters with his prose. For those who enjoy more military affairs, the book is loaded with descriptions of several guns and their operations as Longmire cuts his way through the bad guys.
“Depth of Winter” is the 14th book in the Longmire Mystery novel series, which was adapted as a TV series that ran for six seasons. The book will be available to purchase Sept. 4. Johnson is a Wyoming native that lives in Ucross, a small town outside of Buffalo, on a ranch he built himself.