‘A Serpent’s Tooth’ – Walt Longmire #9 by Craig Johnson

This visit with Walt Longmire in Wyoming didn’t make much of an impression on me. I liked the banter between Walt and Henry. I was surprised by the growing passion between Walt and Victoria Moretti but you know, books written by old men often seem to contain young women who find old men attractive so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. At least Walt had the good grace to be nearly as surprised as I was.

The innocent Mormon(ish) boy and his deranged protector kept me amused. And that was enough to carry me through the book.

It’s a testament to Craig Johnson’ style of storytelling that I enjoyed myself with this book, even though the plot rapidly twisted into a sort of Wild West Fairytale meets Jack Reacher villain that never felt real to me. The whole Mormon-turned-cult-leader thing would either have been much nastier or much more mundane in real life. The vision of Walt, Victoria and Henry heading off into the badlands to thwart a suspected CIA or maybe organised crime plot involving millions of dollars and large numbers of armed men was so Boys-Own-Adventure that it snapped the line my suspended disbelief was hanging from.

Still, the countryside was startling, the baddies were larger than life, and the ending explosive. Walt and his crew were brave and the boy and his guardian were classic wild cards whose innocence or delusion warped the reality of everyone they met to make improbable things possible.

It was a tall tale with some familiar characters, some interesting historical facts and some gentle humour in it. That’s not nothing but I was hoping for more.

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