Title: Hell is Empty Author: Craig Johnson Publisher: June 2nd 2011 by Viking Adult Format: Hardcover, 312 pages Genre: Thriller Series: Walt Longmire #7
I am pretty sure that this is my favorite of all the Walt Longmire books, but then again, I tend to say that after each book in this series.
If you are not a fan of dry humor, you will not get these books. If you are not a fan of undying loyalty, you will not get these books. If your first introduction to Walt was through the television series, you will not get these books. Even thought the name is the same, what you see on that program has very little to do with this series of books.
That being said, the title Hell is Empty comes about from The Tempest “Hell is empty and all the devils are here”, which had me a bit confused since Dante’s Inferno is referenced throughout the book. Unless it was because both were guided by a man named Virgil. Ok, maybe that was it. Geez, I had to dig deep on that one. Now it makes better sense.
Walt and Deputy Saizarbitoria are transporting felons to the county line. The most horrible of the bunch, sociopathic murderer Raynaud Shade, has decided to lead the FBI to the remains of an abducted child. As the exact location is discovered, it is realized that the remains are located within Absoroka County – Sheriff Longmire’s jurisdiction.
With the help of a misguided young woman, Shade has murdered most of his security detail and Sheriff Longmire takes it upon himself to track this lunatic though the high country of the Bighorn Mountain during a blizzard.
Now you have to understand, no man in his right mind would do this, but the bones of this child need to be returned to his family. A family that has very close ties to Walt. Righting a wrong that has devastated too many for too long.
Walt sets out on his own but is soon joined by Virgil White Buffalo, a character introduced in Another Man's Moccasins. With Virgil’s help, Walt is able trek through this very unfriendly terrain and it is not until the end of the book that the reader is left confounded. Was Virgil really there or was Virgil only a spirit guide? Aha, the whole Dante thing again.
I loved this book; I loved the determination and the outright blunt dark humor. I know, others that have read this book comment on the unlikeliness (I am not sure if that is even a word) of several parts, but for goodness sake, this is fiction and if it is written well, like this is, then you skip over that and get sucked into the thriller that Craig Johnson has written.