This Walt Longmire mystery interleaves the present-time story with flashbacks to Longmire’s experiences during the Vietnam War. I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this development, but the novel turned out to be very good, as the two stories are linked.
Walt is helping his daughter Cady recover from her experiences in Philadelphia (detailed in the previous book) when he is called out to the body of a young woman found along a county highway. Walt immediately recognizes the woman as Vietnamese. Next to the body is a huge Crow Indian, who runs away from Walt. In chasing him down, Walt discovers that he has been living in a culvert. When Walt takes him into custody, he won’t speak.
The discovery of the Vietnamese girl triggers memories of Walt’s first homicide investigation as a marine in Vietnam. The girl’s identification shows she is named Ho Thi Paquet, but in among her possessions, Walt find the picture of another woman who resembles someone he knew in Vietnam. With the help of his friend Henry Standing Bear, Walt finds out that the girl is connected with a large human trafficking ring in Los Angeles.
Walt decides that the Crow, identified as a mentally ill Vietnam vet named Virgil White Buffalo, probably didn’t kill Ho. He also doesn’t think it is a coincidence that a Vietnamese “tourist” has appeared, staying in a motel in Absaroka County.
As I have said before, I really enjoy this series. I enjoy the sense that the landscape of Wyoming is as much of a character as the people in the novels, and I like the recurring characters, who keep developing new dimensions.