A Book Spy Review: ‘The Longmire Defense’ by Craig Johnson


Sherif Walt Longmire is back for another riveting whodunit in The Longmire Defense, the latest must-read novel from New York Times bestselling author Craig Johnson.

Following the events of Hell and Back (2022), Longmire, the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, is still struggling with past demons when a 911 call from a woman, a tourist lost high in the mountains, pulls Walt from his thoughts and out into the countryside. While searching for the tourist, Walt comes across an old .300 H&H Magnum. The custom rifle fits the description of the one that was previously owned and used by his grandfather, Lloyd, who was said to have lost the weapon decades prior.

What makes the find so intriguing to Walt, however, is the fact that he unearthed it close to the very spot his grandfather was once hunting alongside friends when the state accountant, Big Bill Sutherland, was found dead back in 1948. Previous reports indicated that Sutherland may have taken his own life, but other theories—often spoken in whispers around town—suggested he might have been murdered.

With the old cold case suddenly blazing hot, Walt Longmire, hellbent on finding the truth no matter where it may lead, digs back into the past looking for justice . . . and ends up finding way more than he bargained for.

With his signature blend of picturesque Western landscapes, intricate mysteries, and endearing characters, Craig Johnson takes readers on a roller-coaster ride through a gripping tale of justice as he once again proves to be not only a master storyteller but also a master of character development. Johnson’s narrative style is as captivating as ever, effortlessly transporting readers into the heart of Absaroka County, and his attention to detail brings the landscape to life, making it an integral part of the story. In that way, his work is comparable to C.J. Box. Whether it’s the vast open plains or the towering mountains, each scene is vividly painted, immersing readers in the very essence of Wyoming. Moreover, another of Johnson’s greatest strengths lies in his ability to breathe life into his characters. Sheriff Walt Longmire, with his rugged charm and unwavering commitment to justice, continues to be the heart and soul of the series, and longtime fans will no doubt relish the opportunity to learn more about his own family history. That’s not to say, though, that newcomers won’t be able to recognize and appreciate the chemistry between characters, which adds depth to the story, weaving a tapestry of relationships that many will find relatable. In fact, it’s precisely that very blend of intriguing mystery and a perfectly-used cast of characters that make Johnson’s latest one of his best novels to date and a perfect spot for new readers to meet up with Sherif Longmire. 

With a multi-layered plot that’s infused with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very end, Craig Johnson proves yet again that he’s not only a master of the modern Western, but one of the most talented writers working today. The Longmire Defense reads with speed and purpose as Walt Longmire’s pursuit of truth and justice leads to one shocking revelation after another, taking readers on a wild adventure they won’t soon forget.

Book Details

Author: Craig Johnson
Series: Walt Longmire #19
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0593297318
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: September 5, 2023



Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and is building a growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” is now available. His second novel, LETHAL RANGE, comes out on August 8th. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. And to take part in free, exclusive BOOK CLUBS each month, join The Real Book Spy on Discord.


Facebook Comments