Jaya Long is the Lame Deer High School basketball superstar. She leads the Lady Stars in nearly every category and the team is on the road to a State basketball championship, thanks to Jaya’s play. But Jaya is receiving death threats – threats which are taken seriously since Jaya’s older sister went missing a year earlier.
Jaya’s aunt is Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long, who calls for Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear to help keep an eye on Jaya. This isn’t easy when her home life can be every bit as dangerous for the teen. Even her team proves a challenge as Jaya has no respect for the other girls and the feeling is mutual.
I really appreciate seeing Johnson tackle the theme of missing Indigenous women. This is an incredibly serious issue that is only marginally mentioned by the media. Johnson really only brings up the topic however, focusing this book more on Jaya and the threats against her than on the tragedy of missing women on the Rez. There is a strong suggestion that the issue will come up again, and I look forward to seeing Walt delve a little deeper into this.
One of the things I really like about the Longmire series is the really strong supporting cast of characters and in this book we really don’t see many of the usual characters. Henry Standing Bear plays a significant role, as usual, but we hardly see Vic – which is a bit of a surprise – and we don’t see Kady at all (which is not a surprise).
The other thing I’ve really come to like about the Longmire novels is Walt’s run-in with the supernatural. Vision quests and the spirit world are important to many Native tribes and Walt, who is generally skeptical, has come to realize there are things that are not easily understood by ‘normal’ world explanations. Walt experiences such an event more than once in this book and again there is a strong suggestion that this isn’t the end of these events.
In multiple ways, Walt Longmire is in new territory in this book.
As a parent of three children who played high school basketball for at least some portion of their school years (one of them in a State tournament run), it was fun to relive the energy and excitement of such an event, and Johnson writes this well. It was a bit of a stretch to have one girl (no matter how well she played), from a very tiny school, and who did not play well with teammates, be courted by big-league schools to play ball for them. Other than that, I enjoyed this quick read.
Looking for a good book? Daughter of the Morning Star by Craig Johnson is the 17th book in the Walt Longmire series. It is a quick read and Walt is finally being exposed to a series issue facing many Indigenous women.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Daughter of the Morning Star
author: Craig Johnson
series: Walt Longmire #17
hardcover, 336 pages