I was going to try to come up with something original for this time through the book, but mostly, I liked what I said <a href="http://wp.me/p3z9AH-1DD" target="_blank">last time</a>, so let's stick to that. I do have a few new things to say at the end, I should note.
It's a sure sign that I need to spend more time reading Johnson than watching the show based on this series in that I'm consistently surprised at how funny these books are. Sure Henry Standing Bear's dry wit is there, Vic is brash and inappropriate -- amusing enough -- but the narration, Walt himself? I chuckled a lot.
So, Walt and Henry (and Dog!) are off to the City of Brotherly Love to visit Walt's daughter, Cady, meet her boyfriend, and for Henry to do something at a museum (just an excuse to see Cady). Oh, and conveniently enough, to meet Vic's family (three police officers, one former police officer, and one attractive mother). After arriving in town, Walt doesn't even get to see Cady before she's brutally attacked and hospitalized.
Naturally, Walt stumbles upon the one person in Philadelphia who's more knowledgeable and interested in Indians than Henry. It's that interest (obsession?) and his connection to Walt that makes Walt the best man to track down the man who put Cady in the hospital (and other assorted nefarious acts). That's a level of coincidence that you just buy -- like Gideon Oliver vacationing somewhere that a set of bones surprisingly shows up; Nero Wolfe needing information from someone who's a sucker for orchids; or that every falsely accused murderers that Andy Carpenter stumbles upon happen to own a cute dog.
There's enough twists, turns -- and one seeming unnecessary but entertaining diversion (that turns out to be not so ancillary) -- to satisfy any mystery reader. Even out of water, this fish can swim. There's some very interesting things that go on in the character's personal lives that should make things interesting down the road (and that I can't talk about while remaining spoiler free) -- enough to make this more than a tale of a father's vengeance.
The first chapter (only one in Wyoming) is great -- Walt totally failing to connect with an elementary school classroom, a fun and prototypical Absaroka County shootout, and other things that make up a typical day for Sheriff Longmire on the eve of his trip.
One thing that I did take note of last time, but didn't write about was the theme of daughters and parents. There's a lot about Vic and her mother, but the focus is on Cady and the place that she has in Walt's head and heart. I'm not sure how you could read/listen to this without your heart melting a bit -- particularly if you have a daughter who's growing up a bit too quickly, like me. Guidall did a solid job with his narration of this book, but his performance in the last chapter just about broke me.
Walt in the big city, like Walt in the least populated corner of Wyoming, is just a pleasure to spend time with -- even if things are going horribly for him.