About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson

43. – 603.) Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson – The 6th book in the series featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire from Durant, Wyoming. After leaving Absaroka County for the last book I was glad Walt is back home.

It is not often a mystery contains a scene from slapstick comedy. The book opens with the Sheriff’s Department stopping an old Toronado car pulling 72 year old George “Geo” Stewart who is tied to the back of the car. How Geo came to be sliding behind the car is laugh out loud funny. It is a tribute to Johnson that he makes the sequence credible as well as humourous.

Sheriff Walt moves on to a missing body parts investigation. The tip of a thumb has been found in a cooler at the dump. Who has lost part of their thumb?

It is late winter in Wyoming. February has been a brutal month. The temperature many days has barely ascended above 0 F (about -15 C). When the sun is not shining it has been snowing. Actually it sounds like a nice February in Saskatchewan.

Geo, a tough wiry man, returns quickly to help run the family junkyard and community garbage dump. Geo prefers the title of Municipal Solid Waste Facility Engineer.

Doing an effective job of keeping intruders out of the facility are a pair of huge mutt wolf-dogs, Butch and Sundance. As always Walt is accompanied by his big dog, Dog.

There is a confrontation at the facility between the future, Ozzie Dobbs a developer of multi-million dollar properties, and the present, the ornery Geo, which returns Geo briefly to the hospital.

When Geo subsequently turns up dead during a vicious storm Sheriff Walt leads the investigation which takes the Department down unexpected paths.

Personally, Walt is feeling the cumulative effects of a series of injuries sustained in the line of duty. He is forced into a medical examination. It was refreshing to read about a tough guy wearing down. Many series there does not seem to be any long term effects from serious injury.

Emotionally Walt has grappled with the risks of the job and come to accept them. Deputy, Santiago Saizarbitoria, has physically recovered from his bullet wound but is suffering from “bullet fever”. He has lost the spirit to be a police officer. Walt desperately wants to keep him a member of the Department.

The plot is less tied to Wyoming than earlier books in the series. As always the weather has a prominent role.

The characters are Wyoming. All prize independence. They are at home in the vast spaces of the state. While they are not as charming as Louise Penny’s Three Pines, Quebec I have come to love Durant and Absaroka County. They are a real community. The dialogue is witty and the story engaging. Excellent. (Aug. 8/11)


  1. Bill - Thanks for this fine review. It's a helpful reminder that little dashes of humour can add much to a story. And like you, I like it when an author does an effective job of creating a real community. In this case it makes especial good sense because that climate makes it hard to survive, let alone do well, if one doesn't work as part of a group.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment.

    I guess our Saskatchewan winters do make us a pretty co-operative people. We had the first socialist provincial government in North America elected in 1944.