A world of false evidence

It is already a dozen years that the first novel by Craig Johnson appeared in French by Gallmeister, Little Bird (translation of The Cold Dish). Fourteen other big novels and a dozen short stories recounting Sheriff Walt Longmire’s investigations followed – not to mention the television series – and, let’s be glad, several have yet to be translated. But, let’s say it right away, this Western Star (published in English in 2017), which is just added to the Longmire saga, will leave you breathless.

It is a complex novel as much by its structure, which is articulated in parallel in two stages, as by what it leaves in suspense. Here we find Longmire and his gang in Cheyenne, where his daughter Cady now lives, when he comes to attend, like every four years, a session of the State Parole Committee. At the same time, abruptly, another much younger Longmire is superimposed, just back from Vietnam and who has just been hired as deputy by Sheriff Lucian Connally.

And here we are in 1972 when Connally invites Walt on the Wyoming Sheriffs Association’s annual trip to the legendary Western Star who makes the return trip Cheyenne-Evanston for the occasion. It was at the end of this tumultuous journey on the legendary train, to say the least, that Longmire imprisoned the dangerous criminal who has since requested parole every four years.

The main part of the story takes place during this trip, where Longmire will face an “unexpected” bloodthirsty butcher, say, while playing “spirituals” and even passages from the piano on the piano. Concerto for the left hand in D major by Maurice Ravel. But it is in the present, nonetheless, that the most terrible challenge that our favorite sheriff has ever faced will arise. We let you discover the magnitude of the thing …

The depth of the story, the elegance and flexibility of the writing – and of Sophie Aslanides’ translation – as well as the strength of the characters make this double story one of the most solid in all of Craig Johnson’s work. A must to place on the same level as the disturbing All the demons are here.


Mickey Haller, the Lincoln lawyer and half-brother of Harry Bosch, is really in trouble: a corpse has just been discovered in the trunk of his car, and the irrefutable evidence is endless. pile up against him. It is the “cata”, as the cousins ​​say. Soon Haller realizes he has been trapped, but by whom? And above all: why? He must find the answer quickly because the state prosecutor has put together a damning case; persuaded of her guilt, she vowed to finally have her skin.

Fortunately, he is not alone: ​​Harry Bosch and all of Haller’s usual collaborators set out in search of witnesses or elements which could weaken the position of the prosecution. It will be difficult because the lawyer has been arrested and has to work from inside the prison and, above all, the evidence seems overwhelming. But they will get there, with a lot of effort. While searching the victim’s side, a con artist Haller defended on a few occasions.

After a few false leads, they will finally discover a pot of roses of unsuspected dimensions. The whole affair is actually based on a colossal scam in which the FBI is also interested; his interest, undeclared but very real, would also explain why the Bureau lets Haller play the role of the scapegoat… We won’t tell you more.

This sixth novel in the Mickey Haller series is like all the others a courtroom novel which one could translate by “praetorian novel”. Above all, it reveals, for those who did not know, the great knowledge that Michael Connelly has of the American justice system – he was a court columnist at Los Angeles Times before starting to write thrillers. This time, he chose to describe in detail all the legal harassments to which the prosecution and the defense must submit, as well as the tips of each of the parties to circumvent them … which considerably increases the progress of the investigation. and reading.

But Michael Connelly is an old pro and he builds his story on primarily believable characters, whatever their allegiance; Mickey Haller himself becomes almost sympathetic. This is how, once again, and despite some not only procedural lengths, he manages to tell a solid story well rendered by Robert Pépin’s translation.

When we know how to do …

Innocence and the law

★★★ ​1/2

Michael Connelly, translated from English by Robert Pépin, Calmann-Lévy “Noir”, Paris 2021, 484 pages

Western Star


Craig Johnson, translated from English by Sophie Aslanides, Gallmeister, Paris 2021, 372 pages

Watch video


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *