Hell and Back: A Walt Longmire Mystery By Craig Johnson: Review/Giveaway

Oct 1, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

When the man wakes up, he doesn’t know his name, where he is, or how he got there. A sign above an Industrial Indian Boarding School informs him that he is in Fort Pratt, but it’s a strangely familiar café waitress who tells him that he is in Montana. A band in the hat he’s wearing seems to indicate that it’s a gift to one Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming, while the familiar-feeling gun in his holster is one issued to lawmen. Everything seems a little strange and off-kilter, and through a succession of meetings with new characters, more and more information is slowly doled out.

Interspersed among Walt’s quest for answers are the determined efforts of Undersheriff Victoria Moretti and Henry Standing Bear to find him. It’s uncertain as to whom their witnesses should fear more, the enormous man known as the Cheyanne Nation or the far more ruthless, very profane Vic. As she tells the man whose lung she is preventing from bleeding out, Walt is the calm in her storm who makes her feel whole, and she will do anything to get him back safely. One never doubts that Vic would follow through on her very imaginative threats to save the man who has earned her undying loyalty and love. They are following in Walt’s footsteps as he tracked down one Artie Small Song, not knowing that they are in a race to keep Walt from taking his own last step towards a seductive lie.

This eighteenth in the series leans more towards its lyrically mystical novellas, which mesmerize by weaving into the plots Native American traditions and beliefs. Walt’s journey back to 1896 explores the tragedy of the Indian Boarding School, an unhygienic forced labor camp that stripped away the culture of Indigenous People and was a hellhole even before the fire that killed 31 students. Walt’s journey back is challenged by an Éveohtsé-heóm?se, a soul-taker, who tempts Walt away from the life he has now with the promise of what he lost in the past.

Just as compelling as Walt’s otherworldly encounters is the investigation by Vic and Henry Standing Bear, whose confrontation with white supremacists is as thrilling as it is satisfying. These novels continue to introduce fascinating elements of Native American culture, never shying away from how they have been exploited and damaged by the government. The injustices of the past are confronted and met with new crimes of the present in this darkly funny, wise, and thoroughly entertaining new mystery.

To enter to win a copy of Hell and Back, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “hell,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 8, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This is a great series. I have loved them for a long time. Please consider this an entry for the latest installment of a series that really should be read in order.

  2. I’ve heard of this series but haven’t tried
    any of it. this sounds interesting.
    Would like to read it. thanks

  3. We love a new Walt Longmire story. Please enter my name in the draw. Thanks! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  4. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  5. Sounds like a fascinating book. Adding to my TBR list.

  6. Hoping they will make this into tv series too
    Can’t wait to read, but love the chosen character actors too! Thank you for more fun. Love!

  7. I loved the TV show and finally decided to read the books. I think they’re great.

  8. We have a winner!


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