This is by and large what I had to say about the <a href="http://wp.me/p3z9AH-1pS" target="_blank"> book a couple of years ago</a> -- but I've expanded it a touch.
It's hard to believe this is a first novel. I love it when that happens. Johnson is assured in his writing, he knows his characters and their world, there's no mistaking that. The world and the characters are very well-developed, it's hard to believe that Johnson worked in as much backstory as he did for these characters in such a short space. Walt, Vic, Henry Standing Bear, Lucien -- they're all fully fleshed out and ready to go.
As always, the mixture of Cheyenne Mysticism (for lack of a better word) and Longmire's realism (and Vic's cynicism) is great -- even at this point, Johnson's ready to present things that could be Cheyenne ghosts, or it could be Longmire's mind playing tricks on him as a result of injury and exposure without taking a clear narrative stance. It's not a fast-paced tale by any means--Johnson saunters through his prose like Longmire would through the world. That doesn't mean it's not gripping, though. It's lush with detail, as scenic and expansive as the Wyoming country it takes place in.
It took awhile for Guidall's narration to work for me, I did eventually come around, and I expect I'll enjoy him more fully in the next book.
I figured out whodunit pretty quickly, but it took a while to get the why. The journey to the why was compelling, interesting and well worth the time. Looking forward to the next installment.