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Hell Is Empty (Walt Longmire, #7)
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Hell Is Empty (Walt Longmire #7)

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  3,619 ratings  ·  435 reviews
Wyoming's favorite sheriff braves a frozen inferno as he races to capture an escaped murderer.

Well-read and world-weary, Sheriff Walt Longmire has been maintaing order in Wyoming's Absaroka County for more than thirty years, but in this riveting seventh outing, he is pushed to his limits. Raynaud Shade, an adopted Crow Indian, has just confessed to murdering a boy ten ye
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Hardcover, 312 pages
Published June 2nd 2011 by Viking Adult (first published May 14th 2011)
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Algernon

One reason I am so fond of the Walt Longmire series is that I don't realy know what to expect in terms of plot from any new issue I pick up. The first book was about chasing a serial killer, the second about investigating a murder 40 years old, the next moved to Philadelphia from some big city action, another did some extended flashback to the Vietnam War or dealt with crime in a ghost town. Some volumes are built on teamwork, others on solitary efforts by Sheriff Walt. Some are based in Absarok
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LJ
First Sentence: “Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to talk with your mouth full?”

What started as a routine hand-off of prisoners quickly became anything but routine. Sociopath and child-killer Raynaud Shade escapes along with two other prisoners and two FBI hostages into the rugged mountains of Wyoming. Also headed that way is a major spring blizzard. Sheriff Walt Longmire, with a Colt .45, a Sharpe’s rifle, a copy of “Dante’s Inferno”, and Indian mysticism heads into the mountains, and the s
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Amy Sturgis
Craig Johnson manages to do something different with every new addition to his Walt Longmire series, and in the case of Hell is Empty, he's created one of his most memorable and meaningful novels yet. The majority of the novel follows Walt's one-man hunt for the convicted and escaped murderer Raynaud Shade in the icy hell of the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area at 13,000-foot elevation during a winter blizzard. This cat-and-mouse pursuit unfolds as an extended reimagining and commentary on Dante's Inf ...more
Trish
A couple of years ago I wrote that it takes a brave man to create a novel that parallels and paraphrases the greats like Shakespeare and Dante. But Johnson takes it on handily: everybody in this new addition to his Sheriff Longmire series reads Dante—a paperback copy makes its way through backpacks and winter whiteouts to mountain peaks and cabin hideouts. It makes me want to go back and wrassle with The Inferno some more. FBI agents, Indians, cops, murderers and gang-bangers--everyone finds so ...more
Joel Neff
One of the things I most enjoy about the Longmire books (and one reason they garner comparisons to Tony Hillerman's work) is that Craig Johnson is not afraid to veer away from the straight and narrow path of mysteries into more abnormal territory.

In almost every book in the series (so far) Sheriff Walt Longmire has perceived, or nearly perceived, things that may or may not be there. He calls them The Old Cheyenne, we, the readers, might call them ghosts, or spirits, or hallucinations. Whatever t
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Susan
In this seventh book in Walt Longmire series he is assigned to transport four dangerous prisoners into the hands of the FBI in the next county. After the exchange and while on his way home he discovers a bobby-pin in his sandwich. Earlier that day they had stopped for a predetermined, scheduled lunch where they all received sandwiches. Evidently there was a leak of their commute schedule and one of the prisoners girlfriend, in order to aid in their planned escape, had positioned herself as an em ...more
Harry

Update:
My admiration for this series escalates with each book in the series. Hell is Empty takes Walt back to the high plains in his hunt for a child killer who defying all logic deliberately leads Walt to the highest point in the range and at about 13,000 feet, in a monumental winter storm, faces Walt knowing there's no way out.

The fog and snow was level with the top of the mountain, and it was as if I were resting on a plain of clouds stretching out forever.

Aided by a beast, a mountain lion; g
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Ashley
I made the mistake of reading a few reviews of this book before I jumped in. One hit me, saying that they felt (Jen!) that it's becoming difficult to believe any human being would be so hard-headed to continue time after time to put themselves in such reckless situations. Having not yet read this new book I reflected upon Walt's previous encounters, and felt that although he was sometimes a stubborn ass and often refused backup, I had mostly gone along quite easily with his encounters.

But as I
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Patty
Usually I wait a while after finishing a book before writing the review. But, since there are almost no words to describe this book I figured, what the heck.

I've been a big Craig Johnson/Walt Longmire fan for several years now and have always considered his first, The Cold Dish, my favorite. Hell is Empty hasn't surpassed it but it is in a dead heat.

Walt and Sancho are delivering some prisoners to the FBI when things go bad. Many FBI are killed and the most dangerous of the criminals are on the
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Karl
This is my fifth Craig Johnson book and I would rate this one the best of all the one's I have read. The book begins with high energy and never lets up. The one element that Mr. Johnson left out of this volume are the usual sidekick characters but for only peripheral mention. He has sustained this book utilizing only Walt Longmire to drive the story.

The story is a survival story that takes place in a terrible blizzard in the mountains. Longmire must capture a crew of escaped prisoners in the mou
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Michael
When you open the show with some law enforcement types transporting a bunch of psycho killers across country in a van you pretty well know what's coming. One of those law enforcement types is my old buddy Sheriff Walt Longmire and the country is the foothills of the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming, alreaded well blanketed in winter's snow and there's more on the way. Deputy Saizarbitoria (Sancho) is working his way through a bunch of book lists provided by his friends and colleagues (the full set ...more
David
I tend to like Walt Longmire, after being introduced to him through the A&e television series. Most of Johnson's novels sneak a bit of Native American myticism in, but usually there is a balance between reality and the metaphysical-- this time.. Johnson goes over-the-top and doesn't even bother to provide a mystery.

That doesn't mean this one isn't a good read, full of literary references to Dante's "Inferno" (Johnson's titles usually reference some highbrow classical literature source like S
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Kathleen McFall
I've just discovered the talented Craig Johnson. This book was my first (I got wind of it awhile back via a review of Hell Is Empty on BookGasm). I've now finished Hell Is Empty along with two others and am contemplating a fourth. That should tell you something. This is a good solid series, so far, one that need not be read in sequence - each stands alone - although there are threads that carry from one to the other, largely related to the relationships among the characters. These relationship l ...more
Rick Riordan
The latest in a series about Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire, this is the first Johnson novel I’ve read, and the first adult mystery I’ve read in quite a while. I’m not sure what attracted me to the book – probably the title, and the premise of following a psychotic killer into the wilderness. Hey, we’ve all been there, right? Normally I’d start a series at the beginning, but I had no trouble following the action. I like Walt Longmire’s character. He’s a widower, a father, an older man who can’t a ...more
Kathy Davie
Seventh in the Walt Longmire mystery series set in Wyoming and revolving around Sheriff Longmire.

Hell is Empty was on the New York Times bestseller list and was voted Library Journal's Best Mystery of the Year.

My Take
And, in spite of all this, it's my least favorite of the series and confusing.

I do love how Johnson ignores the whole politically correct thing and has fun with his cowboy and Indian jokes.

"'Hey, how come you didn't bring that other deputy, the good-looking one?'
… 'I left the women
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Barbara
First, I have a request for Craig Johnson--please! no more stories where Walt is on a mountain, on foot, during a blizzard. Please!!
This starts as a simple 'track down the psycho escaped prisoner' story. And, in a way, the story remains just that. But it is so much more--a story of survival and a story that explores the boundaries of reality. That's a fancy way of saying that, for vast stretches of the action, the reader is never sure what's really happening. It is as if the reader has suffered
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Lee
Another wonderful tale in this well written series. This one is mostly about Walt and his trek up Cloudy Peak in his beloved state of Wyoming. After a psychotic killer in a white-out blizzard, with sub-zero temps. With a good dose of Indian lengends/magic/tales...or was Walt really able to see/talk to the dead? Was he having an out of body experience? I was chilled to the bone along with Walt, in Johnson's descpitive writing of a high altitude blizzard in northern Wyoming.
B.R. Stateham
This is another Longmire novel from Craig Johnson. And it's a good'un. I've said it once and I'll say it again, the author's ability to describe the raw Wyoming countrside is amazing. It's as if you're right there in the high mountain cold slugging through knee deep snow as he tracks down an insane, and escaped, mass killer into the mountains.

If you know about the Longmire TV series on the A&E cable network, then you have some hint of what the novels are like. But only a hint. The novels far
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Julie Davis
The strong Dante connection pulled me in. I have to say that the lion made me smile ... and made me realize that I remember more of the beginning of Inferno than I realized.

From my sampling of other books in this series I can say definitively that Johnson's books are not for me. With this one exception. This was a great book and one that is worth rereading. I would add that it is essentially a stand-alone novel if you don't sweat it about a few stray references to the past. The side characters a
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Sue
The Longmire books stand on their own, but it really behooves a reader to read them in the order they are written. Never has that been as important as this entry in the saga.

Unlike the last book that eased you into the main story, this one grabs the reader from the opening and never lets up. There is a heavy hand with the mysticism; if you enjoyed that aspect of the first book you'll love it, if you didn't, well, this isn't the one for you.

The story is framed in an updated "Inferno", much like O
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Mark Stevens
"Hell is Empty" is one long and enjoyable slog up Cloud Peak in Wyoming. It's an extended chase in the loose form of a mystery novel. It's an existential journey that touches on good and evil, life and death, dedications and obligations, mountain peaks of insight and the depths of misery. It's about confronting your demons, taking on your enemies. "Hell is Empty" is more character study than tale of suspense but the slow-motion pursuit up this snowy, rugged peak certainly has its hair-raising mo ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Hell is Empty, by Craig Johnson, b-plus, narrated by George Guidall, produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from audible.com.

In this seventh entry, Absaroka County sheriff, Walt Longmire, is pushed beyond his limits. When three hardened convicts escape FBI custody in a mountain blizzard, an armed psychopath leads them up Big Horn Mountain. Longmire struggles to track their ascent up the mountain in a white-out blizzard, stubbornly refusing to give up, aided again apparently by spirits of dead In
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Kevintipple
It’s May in Wyoming and Sheriff Walt Longmire would like to get the prisoner transfer finished and go home as he has plans. It has been a long day already and having to stop for food at the South Fork Lodge in the heart of the Bighorn Mountains was a necessary risk. Sheriff Longmire and Santiago are transporting three murderers to the custody of the FBI and private company transport guards and will meet them soon. Once the prisoners are turned over their work will be done.

But, of course, things
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Eric
Nov 11, 2013 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Walt Longmire, Dante's Inferno
The author of this series, Craig Johnson, is not content to churn out paint-by-number mysteries. With each book, he pushes the boundaries of his craft -- integrating flashbacks, different settings, non-linear storytelling, playing with tone, etc. -- but what he does in this book may be his crowning achievement.

There is actually no mystery in this Walt Longmire mystery -- it is made clear at the beginning that Raynaud Shade, the prisoner that Walt is transporting, is guilty of killing a child. Th
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Monty
This was just another magnificent Walt Longmire mystery book. This one includes literary quotes, mostly from Dante's Inferno. Plus there was practically non-stop survival action in a Wyoming snowstorm while pursuing a psychopathic killer in the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area--it is incredible how Walt manages this arduous ordeal. Plus there is a mystical side to the story--did Walt get help from a person, spirit or his own unconscious. Only the author knows for sure.
Teresa
Walt Longmire sure takes a beating in this one but, true to Mr Johnson's word, it isn't a repeat of the "Walt is really, really cold" scenario. People already enamored with the endearing (and enduring) sheriff will enjoy this latest installment; newbies will find themselves wanting to read more of Johnson's work, I'd reckon. If you like murder mysteries, suspense, modern-ish American West or just plain old ethical characters taking on diabolical schemers, I'd wager you'll enjoy Johnson's story-t ...more
Tim
A tour through Hell, but instead of Virgil the poet escorting Dante through the Inferno, it's Virgil the 7.5 ft tall Indian escorting Sheriff Longmire. Easily the best of the series so far..."What is it with you White People and your morals? Maybe it's just a story about what happened."
Jeff
Interestingly, earlier this afternoon I happened to read the book which naturally led into this one (7th in the series), and I thought that was kinda eerie. Given the paranormal(?) nature of this mystery/fugitive chase I am soon close to freaking out and waiting for my spirit guide to lead me to the beyond-valley. An exciting hunt in the forest for a fugitive whose motives are never truly explained but are unimportant to the story, and seemingly provide a brief respite to Sheriff Longmire's clos ...more
Momof3-Ater is mine!
3.5 stars
This was different, I guess each book has a different feel to it, but this one was so much more isolating. I did appreciate the aspect about Virgil, but I wish there had been just more interaction with other characters. Overall, a good solid read.
Allison Malter
This author paints pictures with his words. His books are filled with well crafted characters, beautiful but extreme landscapes, suspenseful plotting and mysticism. I love the series.
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HELL IS EMPTY...SERIES 11 54 Aug 30, 2013 07:49PM  
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63607
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

American novelist and playwright. He lives in Ucross, near Sheridan, Wyoming, population 25.

Johnson has written nine novels featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire: The Cold Dish, Death Without Company, Kindness Goes Unpunished, Another Man's Moccasins, Junkyard Dogs, The Dark Horse (which received starred reviews from
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More about Craig Johnson...
The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1) Death Without Company (Walt Longmire, #2) Kindness Goes Unpunished (Walt Longmire, #3) Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire, #4) The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire, #5)

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“slogans about smoking: “Cigarettes are killers that travel in packs.” 3 likes
“It all came down to judging—if you were a good judge of the man in front of you, you might survive; if not, then you were the honored dead.” 0 likes
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