One of the most viewed paintings in American history, Custer's Last Fight--copied and distributed by Anheuser-Busch at a rate of over two million copies a year--was destroyed in a fire at the 7th Cavalry Headquarters in Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1946. Or was it?
... fulfills expectations ... Longmire’s brains are impressive and might, to new readers, seem out of character for an aging sheriff in rural Wyoming. However, his smarts, capacious memory, and deep knowledge of literature and history are established early in the series and continuously developed, so that by this adventure, where he puts them all together, they are fully believable and, indeed, the pivot point on which the plot turns ... In one of the many snappy dialogues between Longmire and Henry, they relate to Vic the story of the battle from both the white man’s and the Natives’ viewpoints. This echoes recent public debate pertaining to historical revisionism and adds insight to the issue through fiction, moderated by humor ... There’s room in this volume for more humor than average in the series because of the reduced action. That doesn’t mean the story lacks excitement or danger. There are plenty of both, punctuating the high interest value of the Western art and history, and intriguing characters who are introduced for this episode. As well, readers get to know the familiar cast much better ... That last point is what earns a series devoted readership. Longmire et al. are so realistically conveyed, and such good folks, that people care about them and remain engaged in their lives, relationships, and dramas. Add a solid evocation of place and culture, plus masterful prose, and you get the reason why this series has been a reliable bestseller and generated its own TV mini-series ... As soon as fans gobble up this volume, they’ll resume waiting eagerly for the next chance to Happy Dance!
Johnson lightens the atmosphere in this complex, thought-provoking mystery that highlights art and Western history, emphasizing the contrast between Native accounts and white history. The author’s poetic turns of phrase, witty dialog, and one of the funniest, most memorable chase scenes in a novel combine to make this a winner.
Fans of the Longmire series will be pleased that many familiar characters ... Johnson excels at introducing his series characters to new readers without boring longtime fans with details they already know. The plot is not as dark as the last few Longmire tales, but as always, a suspenseful one unfolds at an appealing pace and the prose is first-rate.