Book Review: Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson

Posted November 5, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson
Series: Walt Longmire #14
Genres: Action Thriller
on Thorndike Press
Pages: 422
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also in this series: A Serpent's Tooth, The Percentages"

Also by this author: Spirit of Steamboat, A Serpent's Tooth, Any Other Name, The Highwayman, "Eleven/Twenty-Nine", An Obvious Fact, The Western Star, Land of Wolves, The Cold Dish, Death Without Company , Kindness Goes Unpunished , Another Man's Moccasins, "Land of the Blind", The Percentages"

Fourteenth in the Walt Longmire mystery series and revolving around a sheriff in Wyoming. That said, I’d consider Depth of Winter to be more of a thriller than a mystery, and it takes up where The Western Star, 13, left off, with Cady’s kidnapping.

My Take

There’s no mystery in this, other than wondering if Walt will survive. And it is definitely a thrill a minute as we follow Will through Mexican badlands. Jesus. Sure makes you understand there are more reasons other than the economy why Mexicans want to come to the US. It’s a hammering that Johnson gives throughout the story of the horrors regular people must endure, and all through first person protagonist point-of-view from Walt’s perspective as he encounters so many savage atrocities.

Bianca’s anger at her husband’s death is still fierce, for this radical who thought “that people should be able to live their lives without fear”. We don’t need a wall between the US and Mexico. We need to help clear out the drug cartels, help create jobs, end the corruption, and bring back farming in Mexico. Give people some damn hope.

Walt has had quite an education over the years and is dang good at palming what he wants to keep, that’s for sure, *laughing*. But he doesn’t stand a chance at preventing anyone from helping him, and all his Mexican allies insist.

While Isidro’s story is all too common in Mexico, his first meeting with Guzmán was fascinating!

Johnson has a smooth hand with those flashbacks, as he imparts background information without turning it into an info dump…yay!

Okay, I can appreciate that Walt is a good man. But. I do hate this meme… Why Walt doesn’t take that opportunity to kill these incredibly bad, bad guys, I’ll never understand. That little scene with Lucian, and the list of what Bidarte has done to Walt’s family, and Walt thinks the guy “may be done”??? Done????? Whatever drugs Walt is on, I don’t want any. For a man who claims that he doesn’t want to put anyone in harm’s way…jesus…

The Story

A vicious and psychopathic hitman who has been murdering his way through Walt’s family has kidnapped Walt’s beloved daughter, Cady, to auction her off to his worst enemies, of which there are many.

It’s Walt against the bad guys, since the American government is more into red tape and politics and the Mexican one is even less interested.

It’s one man against an army heading into the one-hundred-and-ten degree heat of the Northern Mexican desert alone.

The Characters

Walt Longmire has been the sheriff of Absaroka County in Wyoming for years. Henry Standing Bear is his best friend, and he’s staying behind to protect Lola. Walt’s daughter, Cady, is a widow and a US Assistant District Attorney with a small child, Lola. Michael Moretti had been a cop, Vic’s brother, and Cady’s husband. Alexia Mendez is Cady’s housekeeper; Ricardo had been Alexia’s nephew until Culpepper murdered him.

Deputy Vic Moretti is Walt’s second-in-command and his lover who can never have a child after Bidarte’s attentions. Lucian Connally had been the sheriff; now he’s retired.

Captain José “Buck” Guzmán is an agent with the US Customs and Border Protection. Special Agent-in-Charge Mike McGroder wants to help, but has to go through all that red tape.


The Seer, born without legs or sight but did get the humped back, brokers information. Alonzo is the Seer’s nephew who will drive them in his pink Cadillac with its Longhorn steer horns mounted on the hood. It’s inconspicuous. Father Rubio is another friend of the Seer’s.

Colonel Hernández is the head of the Federales (Mexican police) who is thrilled to meet Bob Lilly, Mister Cowboy himself, an All-American defensive tackle and eleven-time Pro Bowl and Super Bowl Champion.

Isidro is part Apache and part Tarahumara, and he is something else with his M1C Garand (rifle) and as a runner. His tongue was cut out by the cartel.

Puerto Seguro is…
…the village that Adan Martínez now protects with his Rural Defensas. He started as a doctor and used to be with Intelligence Operation Center (CISEN) and the Dirección Federal de Seguridad. Now he’s retired and on a personal mission. His sister, Bianca Martínez, a.k.a., Bruja de la Piel, the Skin Witch, is dangerous.

The Orfananto is…
…an orphanage run by an old woman who takes in children. Alicia is a young girl with big eyes. La Rucia is the gray mule.

Torero, Estante del Diablo, Las Bandejas
It had been Isidro’s hometown until the drug cartels arrived. Tomás Bidarte carved himself a drug kingdom and more. He’s a very bad man who has been trying to destroy Walt for quite a few installments now. David Culpepper is from Texas and Bidarte’s psychopathic second-in-command. Peter Lowery is in charge of their IT. Iván has an aunt who lives in Tucson. The cutting off of different body parts provides a message in the narco culture.

Miguel Guerra is a friend of the Seer. Juan Carlos is the bartender at Chiquita’s Bar. Maquiladoras are assembly plants along the industrial zone, which allows duty- and tariff-free manufacturing and where mostly women work. Those plants are also the the source of Los Perdidos, the Lost Ones, women who go missing or are killed because the police are corrupt and the men are still stuck on the little woman at home scenario. Ambrose Bierce and his “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” come in very handy. Sebastian Ramírez is a tattoo legend in Los Angeles. Cagle Curtis had been Walt’s coach back in his Durant Dogie defensive lineman days.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a bland melange of brown. The most exciting color is the muted pumpkin of the title(s) and the spine. It’s a solid beige background with the author’s name at the top in a soft brown and the title immediately underneath with it with both taking up 7/8ths of the cover. Slightly off-center at the bottom is a tired Walt, his head down and wearing a black cowboy hat, a barncoat, and denim shirt and jeans, holding his gun at his side. There’s a small info blurb to his left incorporating black into the color scheme.

I suspect the title is more metaphorical than literal, for it is the Depth of Winter for Walt as he struggles to find and free his daughter.

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