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Book review: Walt Longmire returns with valuable dinosaur bones in Craig Johnson mystery
"Dry Bones" is a recent Longmire mystery by Craig Johnson. - photo by Steve Larson
"DRY BONES: A Walt Longmire Mystery," by Craig Johnson, Viking, $27.99, 320 pages (f)

"Dry Bones" is a new Longmire mystery by best-selling author and Wyoming resident Craig Johnson.

It begins with Sheriff Walt Longmire investigating a possible homicide on a large, private Wyoming ranch. The victim, Danny Lone Elk, was found floating in a turtle pond. As he was the owner of the ranch, his death was immediately considered suspicious.

While investigating Danny's death, Walt and his undersheriff, Victoria "Vic" Moretti, stumble on a dispute between the ranch owner's family and archaeologists from the local High Plains Dinosaur Museum. It seems the archaeologists have discovered the remains of a very large dinosaur and the Lone Elk family is not willing to hand it over without a fight.

At this point, Walt's life only gets more complicated. While waiting for the arrival of his only daughter, Cady, and his new granddaughter, who are visiting from Philadelphia, he is suddenly up to his neck in state and federal authorities eager to wade into the dispute about the dinosaur bones.

Walt finds himself being pulled in multiple directions as members of his community question his loyalty to the close-knit Wyoming town and its people. At the same time, the new acting deputy U.S. attorney is questioning Walt's commitment to his law enforcement position.

As Cady arrives with her new daughter, Walt is looking forward to spending time with both of them. However, not long after Cady arrives, she receives some very troubling news from back in Philadelphia and her visit is suddenly cut short as she discovers she must return home. Unfortunately for Walt, this also means his undersheriff and love interest, Vic, who is also Cady's sister-in-law, must return with Cady.

Fortunately, Walt still has Henry Standing Bear and former sheriff Lucian to help.

"Dry Bones" is yet another classic Craig Johnson mystery. While this may not become everyone's favorite Longmire mystery, it advances the Longmire story and carries on Walt's unique brand of humor that is at times both crude and hilarious. The supporting characters play their roles well as Sheriff Longmire dishes out his brand of Wyoming justice.

The book contains a fair amount of violence, mostly through gunfights and physical abuse. It also has a few sexual references and a fair amount of profane language.