A Serpent's Tooth by Craig Johnson

Heldig startled by bookage.
Heldig startled by bookage.

Where I Got It: From the library.

Narrator: George Guidall

Publisher: Recorded Books (2013)

Length: 9 hours 26 minutes

Series: Book 9 Walt Longmire

Author’s Page

Note: While this is Book 9 in the series, it works well as a stand alone. There are some vague references to events that happened in the previous book, but I don’t feel that it detracted or distracted from this story.

In Absaroka County, Wyoming, Sheriff Longmire and his deputies are caught up in the mystery of a homeless Mormon ‘lost boy’ and his missing mother. The boy, Cord, has a mysterious protector, an elderly man who claims the name of a long-dead Mormon founder. Meanwhile, Longmire and his deputies keep having run-ins with the local heads of the polygamy religious group. There’s weapons a plenty and not a few people shielding themselves with religion as they make their power plays.

In this modern day western, Walt Longmire has his work cut out for him. An elderly single lady truly believes that she has a guardian angel that fixes all her broken house hold appliances while she is out running chores or socializing. What Walt and his deputy Vic Moretti find is a young man who quickly scampers away, inadvertently leaving his pants behind. Of course, a pantsless boy on foot isn’t that hard to track down and before long, Walt is trying to get info out of young Cord Lynear. What Walt steps into is beyond his expectations.

It appears that the small, yet well armed, polygamy Mormon sect has had trouble in other states. Now that trouble is on Walt’s doorstep. However, finding people to talk to him about the inner workings of this sect is difficult, and dangerous. I really enjoyed watching Walt and his team unwind this mystery. The author does a good job of getting my ire up without having the injustices of this small, made-up religious sect over crowd the plot. I really felt for the women and children of the sect, even though we only meet a few of them.

Meanwhile, there has been a romance brewing between Walt and Vic for some time. We get more of that here, though I don’t want to say too much as I haven’t read Book 8 and don’t know where that left off with this romantic subplot. Things definitely heat up and by the end of the book there is a poignant surprise for both Walt and the readers. The romance adds to the characters and doesn’t detract from the plot.

Henry Standing Bear is ever a presence in these books and I am glad that he is around. Walt can definitely use the help with this case. His stolid character and dry humor are always a welcome addition to any scene. Also, he can handle himself in a fight.

Over all, this was a very enjoyable mystery. I got quite attached to Cord and his self-assigned protector, Orrin Porter (or so he says he is). Also, I like that the author takes these mysteries seriously. Not all of Walt’s deputies will make it out of this story whole and healthy. Even though I am not particularly attached to most of these side characters (i. e. Frymire and Double Tough), I still felt for them when the plot got serious.

The Narration: George Guidall has a great voice for Walt Longmire. Also, I found he did a decent job for Vic Moretti’s voice as well. His pacing was also good in this book. He also had a great adolescent voice for Cord and crotchety old man voice for Orrin Porter. 

What I Liked: The mystery goes from a missing person to something much larger; there’s enough injustices done in a religion’s name to irk without eclipsing the plot; the romance doesn’t distract from the plot; Cord and Orrin were great characters; not everyone gets out unscathed.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really enjoyed this one!

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