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Daughter of the Morning Star: Longmire #17    by Craig Johnson order for
Daughter of the Morning Star
by Craig Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Daughter of the Morning Star follows Next to Last Stand as the seventeenth in Craig Johnson's spectacular series set in in Absaroka, Wyoming (the least populated county in the least populated US state) and starring veteran sheriff Walt Longmire. He is strong, fallible, stoic, sensitive, vulnerable, and skeptical. His old friend, Henry Standing Bear, has his back, while feisty undersheriff Victoria Moretti keeps him on his toes.

This time, Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long calls on both Walt and Henry Standing Bear after her niece Jaya (nicknamed Longbow) receives death threats. Jaya's older sister Jeanie disappeared the year before, one of way too many missing indigenous women. Jaya is an outstanding athlete (as was Jeanie) and the top performer in the Lame Deer Lady Stars High School basketball team. She's also not a team player, has an enormous chip on her shoulder, and is 'at war with the world.'

As Walt investigates, he hears stories of the Wandering Without, 'a black spiritual hole that does nothing but devour souls' - is this what took Jeanie? Her father is a member of a white supremacy group - were they involved? Walt, with a daughter himself, manages to connect with Jaya. When her basketball coach is injured, Walt is inveigled into taking on training the team (Vic helps too). Between games, the violence escalates.

They save Jaya, both her life and her future. It's too late for Jeanie, but Walt has not given up on bringing her home. I'm very curious to find out how, but must wait for the next episode. Do read Daughter of the Morning Star, and don't miss Johnson's comments in Acknowledgments that begin: 'The plight of missing and murdered indigenous women is so great that I had to reassure my publisher that the statistics contained in this novel are accurate.'

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