After Hell Is Empty, I didn't think that Craig Johnson could get better, but I was wrong. While As the Crow Flies isn't as "literary" as its predecessor, it is a wonderful piece of writing.
The new characters are a delight. Lolo is great and I really appreciate her interaction not only with Walt but with her mother (who knows how to deal with her). I hope she will be back so we can see her mature into a fine police officer. I missed Vic in this one, but it was good to have Henry back full time. Dog was also a welcome inclusion this time.
Johnson's strength is in his characters. I know these people, and for the most part, I like them very much. I would know them if I met them on the street. I want to know them better, and he allows them to grow. Lonnie (Lonny?) is a much more mature character than he was in The Cold Dish, and I'm enjoying his new responsibilities as much as he is frustrated by them. Yes, it is so.
The plot had me completely in the dark until the last 30 minutes of the audio (or so). It wasn't as all what I was expecting, and that's all I'll say about that!! As usual the plot is logical when worked backwards.
The only thing wrong with the book is that I have finished it. Now I'm going back through the series again, just to reacquaint myself with the people. Then I suppose I'll just have to wait another year for another book.
(Other reviewers have explained the basic plot, so I will refrain from repeating them.)
I really like this series as a whole. Generally I lose interest in a series about book 6 or 7 because they are all alike. Not so, this series. Each book has its own story and each book contributes to the development of the characters. This book is unique in the sense that it is a darker, sadder book. The victims, while not necessarily admirable, are complete innocents in some ways. Through their stories, we learn more about one of the secondary characters in the series -- these things also sad and dark.
Robb's perpetrator is also somewhat sympathetic making the whole book come together even better than some of her others
As usual, Ericksen does an wonderful job narrating the book. Her characterizations are spot on and consistent from book to book. She is the voice of the books for me, and when I read them "with my eyes" I hear her voice telling the story.
It is a good murder mystery wrapped in great characters. I would recommend reading the series in order since the characters develop through the books, but I think this one can stand on its own, perhaps not as complete as a part of the series, but interesting alone.
Steamboat is an extremely well written little book about my favorite characters. It adds to the readers' knowledge of a couple of them, but more importantly it emphasizes the humanity of them.
Watching Walt hang halfway out of the underside of an airplane (and I do mean watching, because Johnson has a talent for showing the reader the story rather than telling him/her about it) was hair raising. I mean, we knew he would survive -- after all, the action in this book takes place decades before the books in the series, but that doesn't impact the drama in the slightest.
The narrator is fabulous and has become the voice of Walt Longmire for me. When Guidall reads a book, I always give it a second look, but in the Longmire books, he is inspired.
This book is especially important to me because I love the ongoing series, but it would be a good stand-alone, also, for those who need an introduction to Walt's world. For an investment of just over 3 hours, the reader gets a good taste of Johnson's amazing writing and Guidall's gifted narration. Top notch.
This is the 4th (and last, [sigh]) Harper Connelly book. Harper is able to find dead bodies as a result of a lightning strike when she was a teenager. She and her "brother" travel from place to place selling their services to people who want more information about their deceased loved ones.
The best part of this series is the developing relationship between Harper and Tolliver. In this book, more family members become involved and the two of them try to figure out what happened to her sister years before. The characters are wonderful, and Bresnahan does a masterful job creating the character of Harper (the book is written in first person).
I'm glad that Harris brought the series to a logical conclusion. She had stated a few months ago that the series was finished after this book, and it leaves the reader satisfied that the lives of the characters have stabilized with the discovery of those "grave secret"s in the title.
It wasn't a typical Harris book, and I'm sure it will be criticized for that, but I enjoyed it very much. It was necessary to bring closure to the series to focus on Harper's personal tragedies, and that made the plot structure slightly more predictable than that of the previous books in the series. However, I REALLY didn't see the climax coming. Harris did a fantastic job of tying loose ends together and having a true conclusion to the series.
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