Book Review: Craig Johnson’s Junkyard Dogs

Posted June 4, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

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.

Book Review: Craig Johnson’s Junkyard Dogs

Junkyard Dogs


Craig Johnson

It is part of the Walt Longmire #6 series and is a mystery in Hardcover edition that was published by Viking Adult on May 27, 2010 and has 306 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books in this series include Wait For Signs

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Cold Dish, Death Without Company, Kindness Goes Unpunished, Another Man's Moccasins, Christmas in Absaroka County, Dark Horse, Hell is Empty, As the Crow Flies, Spirit of Steamboat, A Serpent's Tooth, Any Other Name, Wait For Signs, Dry Bones, The Highwayman, "Eleven/Twenty-Nine", An Obvious Fact, The Western Star

Sixth in the Walt Longmire mystery series revolving around a Wyoming sheriff and his friends. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Walt Longmire books on my website.

My Take

It’s body surfing down the snow-slick road, a naked jailbreak, a Romeo-and-Juliet affair amongst the older folks, congenital idiots trying to fly in the big-time, and the menacing pace of a 1mph chase through a junkyard by a tow truck — a tragi-comedy all mixed up with weak people who care nothing for those around them. A great story, but I found it so very sad. A series of dismal events — from the past and today — that destroyed so much. It was enough to make me cry. Although that ending did put a smile in my heart.

The majority of the story is about the Stewarts with some sad comic relief from Ozzie. Obviously Walt has a pretty big part in this, but the usual cast of Walt Longmire mostly pops up as backup, instead of playing any big parts. Well, all except Sancho — he’s the charity case for this installment, still traumatized by that knife in his kidney.

I can understand the urge to jury rig something that’s an emergency, but this is just scary even as I can’t help but laugh at George’s predicament. And as I say this, I feel like such a schmuck, but, really… And Duane’s dad (George’s son) died the same way?? Hullo…

Hey, Vic is looking around at houses! Although we don’t get much opportunity to house hunt with her. It was more of a glancing reference.

The Story

It’s George’s inadvertent adventure sledding down the snow-covered roads that brings the Stewarts to Walt’s attention. And Duane and Gina don’t seem to grasp the idea that smelling of dope probably isn’t a brilliant maneuver.

It just gets more interesting when a lone finger turns up, and the two most improbable people in the county are wrapped up in a love affair.

The Characters

Walt Longmire is the easy-going sheriff of Absaroka County in Wyoming, and Dog — part Saint Bernard, part German shepherd, part a lot of other stuff, all great white shark if bacon is in the room — is still with him. Henry Standing Bear is Walt’s best friend and always has his back. Henry went to UC Berkeley, now he runs the Red Pony. He’s trying to get hold of his brother Lee.

Victoria Moretti is Walt’s undersheriff with whom Walt had a very short affair in Philadelphia. He seems to be keeping her on the backburner these days. Santiago “Sancho” Saizabitoria, mountaineering expert, is still suffering from shellshock and wants to quit; Marie, his wife, is exhausted with the baby, Antonio, a.k.a., the Critter. Cathi Kindt is an EMT. The Ferg is a part-time deputy.

George “Geo” Stewart is a tough old bird who runs the local junkyard, er, I mean, the Municipal Solid Waste Facility. Morris is George’s brother. Duane is George’s grandson and married to Gina, one dumb slut. Their dogs, Butch and Sundance, aren’t very friendly.

Ozzie Dobbs, Jr. inherited the Redhills Arroyo housing developer when his dad died. He isn’t doing too well, and he’s still living with his mother, the amazing Mrs. Betty Dobbs, who used to be Walt’s ninth-grade English/civics teacher.

Felix Polk had an accident with his new log splitter. Scott Montgomery is the sheriff of Travis County, Texas. Claudia Lorme‘s panicky about cops in the house, especially when the cops make off with her sister Carla. Felix Poulson has been in prison off and on, part of the Aryan Brotherhood. Pat Cook was a sheriff’s deputy back in 1970.

Minor characters in this story include:
Lucian Connally is the now-retired sheriff, and he’s still an ornery as ever. Ruby is the weekday dispatcher and department secretary who ends up dogsitting. A lot. Dorothy Caldwell runs the Busy Bee Café where Walt eats a lot of meals. Dr. Isaac Bloomfield was one of “three living inmates of Dora-Mittelbau’s Nordhausen when Allied troops had liberated” the camp”; now he’s the physician-in-charge at Durant Memorial. Dr. David Nickerson is the new resident. Mike Thomas owns a local ranch and sculpts. Bill McDermott is a medical examiner on loan from Montana; he’s seeing Lana Baroja. John Muecke helped Vic finance her house.

The Cover and Title

The woodcut-styled cover is intimidating with its metaphorical wolves snarling out of the night at us.

The title simply sums up the characters, the Junkyard Dogs that destroy everything before them.