It’s May in Wyoming and Sheriff Walt Longmire would like to get the prisoner transfer finished and go home as he has plans. It has been a long day already and having to stop for food at the South Fork Lodge in the heart of the Bighorn Mountains was a necessary risk. Sheriff Longmire and Santiago are transporting three murderers to the custody of the FBI and private company transport guards and will meet them soon. Once the prisoners are turned over their work will be done.


But, of course, things are not going to be that simple at all.


Instead of going to Vic’s new house for dinner this night, Sheriff Walt Longmire is about to go on a journey worthy of Dante’s Inferno.  The prisoners manage to escape with hostages from the FBI team leaving a burning gas station and numerous bodies in their wake.  It now is left to Sheriff Walt Longmire to continue the dangerous pursuit hour by hour higher into the mountains despite an incredible late season snow storm that makes assistance for him impossible.


When you open a Craig Johnson book, the real world quickly falls away and you get immersed in the story.  The same is true in Hell Is Empty from the award winning author with a tale that explores mysticism, reality and personal endurance and survival. The line between reality and fantasy is blurred for much of the second half of this book that ends with no easy answers.  While some may complain that there is not the usual normal level of interaction between Walt and the cast of characters in this series, that criticism completely misses the obvious point of this very complex novel. This novel is more of a personal journey tale, pushing the limits of endurance, and one expects will fundamentally change this character for books to come.



Seven books into the series the reads just keep getting better and better. This very complex tale, nearly impossible to describe in any depth without ruining the read, simply might be the best one yet.


The series absolutely should be read in order and begins with the very good The Cold Dish.



Hell Is Empty: A Walt Longmire Mystery

Craig Johnson

Viking (Penguin Group)




312 Pages



Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2011

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