Reviews for Hell And Back

by Craig Johnson

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Nightmare, out-of-body experience, time travel, and mental illness are all possibilities for a man who awakens knowing neither his name nor where he is.Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming, wakes up in a heavy snowstorm frozen to the street. At first his only reality is snow, the sound of bells, and two silver dollars in his lap. Then he sees a sign for the Fort Pratt Industrial Indian Boarding School. His period of hell on earth starts with a visit to a restaurant staffed by a stunning blond woman who looks familiar. She tells him his name, which is written in his hats sweatband, and identifies their locale as Fort Pratt, Montana. His next interaction is with an enormous man whom the waitress cant see, a man dressed in the clothes of a Mountain Crow, who departs with an enigmatic comment. The two meet again while Walt, whos looking for a policeman, discovers a woman in a movie theater who again seems familiar and a priest who claims to be researching a book on the Indian boarding school where 31 children reportedly perished in a fire. In the meantime, Walts best friend, Henry Standing Bear, and his deputy, Vic Moretti, come looking for him. Just like Walt, they keep running into the same people whose lives make no sense in a town where the time is always 8:17 p.m. After Walt manages to save the children from that fire, which took place many years before the time he seems to be living in, he gets locked in a desperate battle with a shape-shifting monster whose name just might be death.A mystical thriller that offers a wild ride through a thoroughly altered reality. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
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At the outset of bestseller Johnson’s solid if surreal 18th Walt Longmire mystery (after 2021’s Daughter of the Morning Star), the Absaroka County, Wyo., sheriff wakes up in the middle of a snowy street, part of his sheepskin coat frozen to the ground. He has no idea who he is or how he ended up in Fort Pratt, Mont., or why he’s covered in blood with a bullet missing from his gun. Walt only learns his name when a waitress at a deserted café points out that it’s printed in his cowboy hat’s sweatband. Then, in a mystical turn, he’s transported back to 1896, when 31 Native American boys died in a fire that destroyed Fort Pratt’s Industrial Indian Boarding School. Meanwhile, Walt’s undersheriff, Victoria Moretti, and friend Henry Standing Bear go looking for him. This departure from the usual straightforward police procedural centers on Walt’s emotional health, keeping the reader wondering whether his fugue state is amnesia or insanity. Longtime fans will relish Johnson’s new insights into Walt’s character, though this isn’t the place to start for newcomers. Agent: Gail Hochman. Brandt & Hochman Literary. (Sept.)


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Nightmare, out-of-body experience, time travel, and mental illness are all possibilities for a man who awakens knowing neither his name nor where he is. Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming, wakes up in a heavy snowstorm frozen to the street. At first his only reality is snow, the sound of bells, and two silver dollars in his lap. Then he sees a sign for the Fort Pratt Industrial Indian Boarding School. His period of hell on earth starts with a visit to a restaurant staffed by a stunning blond woman who looks familiar. She tells him his name, which is written in his hat’s sweatband, and identifies their locale as Fort Pratt, Montana. His next interaction is with an enormous man whom the waitress can’t see, a man dressed in the clothes of a Mountain Crow, who departs with an enigmatic comment. The two meet again while Walt, who’s looking for a policeman, discovers a woman in a movie theater who again seems familiar and a priest who claims to be researching a book on the Indian boarding school where 31 children reportedly perished in a fire. In the meantime, Walt’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear, and his deputy, Vic Moretti, come looking for him. Just like Walt, they keep running into the same people whose lives make no sense in a town where the time is always 8:17 p.m. After Walt manages to save the children from that fire, which took place many years before the time he seems to be living in, he gets locked in a desperate battle with a shape-shifting monster whose name just might be death. A mystical thriller that offers a wild ride through a thoroughly altered reality. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

White Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire is back, but he doesn't know it. He's awakened blood-soaked and minus a bullet in a Montana town where a devastating boarding-school fire killed 30 Indigenous children over a century ago, and he has no memory of who he is. He does, however, have a pervasive sense of what the Northern Cheyenne call Éveohtsé-heómése, the Wandering Without that steals souls, which should make for intense and unusual reading as he battles to save himself.