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Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series got a big lift from Robert Taylor's charismatic turn in the TV series. At this point there's even an annual event called Longmire Days in Buffalo, WY. The books, which owe something of a debt to Tony Hillerman, deserve the attention. The series opened after the Absaroka County Sheriff had lost his wife of 25 years to cancer, so he's deservedly morose. But by now we're in the fourth book in the series and Walt is still haunted by the dead. He takes every death in his county personally and, as flashbacks reveal here, a series of deaths he experienced in Vietnam in both combat and in a drug dealing case when he was a young Marine investigator. That past seems to have come home to roost when a Vietnamese girl is found murdered on a roadside with a picture of Walt in her purse.

Walt and his old friend Henry Standing Bear, who also served in 'Nam, don't really believe that the only suspect, a giant Crow named Virgil White Buffalo, is guilty of the crime and Walt is increasingly certain the answer to the mystery lies in his past. At one point they are driving along and Walt goes silent:
I drove and stared at another patch of the highway where more lives had come to an abrupt halt. I remembered who they were, their names, their family, their friends; these dead weren't the ones I was worried about--there were people who would remember them. It was the ones who had died truly alone who concerned me most. If no one remembered them, were they ever really here? I took a deep breath and forced my eyes back to the road. "Ruby says I care about dead people more than the living."

Henry said nothing.
This moral seriousness and shouldering responsibility for the victims, so reminiscent of Harry Bosch, is part of what makes Walt so compelling. But he's not being fair to himself. He takes doting care of his daughter and is sensitive to the needs of his team and even of the local citizenry. Spending time in Absaroka isn't exactly comforting--there are, after all, an unusual number of murders--but the characters are immensely likable and the author has mastered the art of the police procedural, in this unusual setting, rendering something like a hard-boiled Western.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Craig Johnson Links:

    -FACEBOOK PAGE: Official Craig Johnson
    -WIKIPEDIA: Craig Johnson
    -AUTHOR PAGE: Craig Johnson (Penguin Books)
    -EXCERPT: from Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson (Crime Reads)
    -ESSAY: Craig Johnson’s Take on Longmire: Wondrous, But Weird BY CRAIG JOHNSON, June 1, 2012, Criminal Element)
-ENTRY: Craig Johnson (Bookrepoter)
    -ESSAY: CRAIG JOHNSON ON SPIRITUALITY, THE WEST, AND THE PLIGHT OF MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN: A missing person poster at a library on the Crow Reservation was the inspiration for the newest Longmire novel. (Crime Reads, SEPTEMBER 21, 2021)
    -VIDEO: "Longmire" Author, Craig Johnson (Wolf Gang of Wyoming, Jan 15, 2020)
    -VIDEO: Craig Johnson - Southern Voices 2016 (Hoover Public Library, Mar 18, 2016)
    -VIDEO: Western Reboot (Craig Johnson, Jan 29, 2018, Jefferson County Public Library)
    -VIDEO: RMWF Writers Series (Craig Johnson, Sep 7, 2017, Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory)
    -VIDEO: Craig Johnson Q&A (High Plains Library District, Jul 9, 2020)
    -VIDEO: Walt Longmire—Depth Of Winter (Craig Johnson, Feb 6, 2019, Rancho Mirage Writers Festival)
    -PODCAST: Craig Johnson – Walt Longmire Novel Series (Charlotte Readers Podcast)
    -PROFILE: CRAIG JOHNSON ON UNITING THE WESTERN AND THE ART HEIST NOVEL: How the mystery around a famous saloon painting entered the world of Walt Longmire (CRIMEREADS, 9/22/20)
    -INTERVIEW: CRAIG JOHNSON ON WESTERNS, DECENCY, AND LONGMIRE DAYS: An In-Depth Conversation with the Man Behind Longmire (SCOTT MONTGOMERY, 9/06/2018, Crime Reads)
    -INTERVIEW: CRAIG JOHNSON ON THE ENDURING POPULARITY OF LONGMIRE AND ITS DEEPLY HUMAN CHARACTERS: Three years after the series wrap, Johnson is still crafting complex worlds for Walt Longmire—and readers are still connecting (SCOTT MONTGOMERY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2019, Crime Reads)
    -PROFILE: At Home with Craig Johnson: Talking writing and the West. (BOB WELCH, OCT 10, 2016, American Cowboy)
    -PROFILE: Craig Johnson makes crime pay (Marc Weingarten, July 20, 2008, LA Times)
    -PROFILE: Longmire’s Craig Johnson: Author weaves his crime drama novels in the hills of Ucross Wyoming (Yellowstone Valley Woman)
    -INTERVIEW: Interview with Craig Johnson, author of the successful book series “Longmire”, set in Wyoming (Stories About America, 3 Dicembre 2019)
    -INTERVIEW: Craig Johnson on his Walt Longmire crime series (Paul Davis, December 30, 2019, Washington Times)
    -INTERVIEW: Craig Johnson Talks New Longmire Book and Possibility of a Movie (95.5 My Country)
    -INTERVIEW: 'Longmire' author Craig Johnson on polygamy, TV, 'Serpent's Tooth' (Liesl Bradner, June 6, 2013, LA Times)
    -INTERVIEW: Author Craig Johnson, Creator of the Popular "Longmire" Mysteries, Returns to Tulsa (RICH FISHER, SEP 25, 2019, Public Radio Tulsa)
    -PODCAST: Episode 383: Craig Johnson, Author of the Walt Longmire Series (Writer's Bone, SEPTEMBER 24, 2019)
    -INTERVIEW: Craig Johnson: New Book and Longmire- Season 2 (Trevor T. Trujillo, May 23, 2013, KOWB)
    -PROFILE: Longmire series a window to Wyoming (LEW FREEDMAN, Sep 18, 2019, Cody Enterprise)
    -PROFILE: In Wyoming, the Pieces Fall Into Place (Joyce Wadler, June 3, 2009, NY Times)
    -PROFILE: Author profile | Craig Johnson: Mystery writer says he draws inspiration from newspapers for best-selling novels (The Gazette, May 28, 2019)
    -INTERVIEW: Longmire Author Craig Johnson Talks About Newest Book (Kay Erickson, September 4, 2018, YP Radio)
    -INTERVIEW: 'Any Other Name' author Craig Johnson discusses his Walt Longmire series (Erik Spanberg, June 2, 2014, CS Monitor)
    -INTERVIEW: Wyoming writer Craig Johnson tackles stereotypes in Longmire books (MONTE WHALEY, October 23, 2014, The Denver Post)
    -INTERVIEW: Craig Johnson takes on the Mormon "lost boys" (CHÉRIE NEWMAN, JUL 31, 2013, Montana Public Radio)
    -ESSAY: THE MAGIC OF LONGMIRE DAYS: Thousands of Readers Make a Summer Pilgrimage to Wyoming. Why? (BOBBI NEELY, 8/10/18, Crime Reads)
    -ESSAY: THE EVOLUTION OF WALT LONGMIRE: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LAUGHTER AND DEATH: A Bookseller's Guide to Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire Series (SCOTT MONTGOMERY, 7/18/19, Crime Reads)
    -ESSAY: With a Little Help from His Friends: The Functions of Diversity in Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire Series (Rachel Schaffer, Clues: A Journal of Detection)
    -ESSAY: Longmire: Discover the Destinations that Inspired the Series (Travel Wyoming, August 3, 2020)
    -VIDEO ARCHIVES: Craig Johnson (You Tube)
    -ARCHIVES: longmire (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
    -ARCHIVES: longmire (Crime Reads)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVE: Land of Wolves by CRAIG JOHNSON (Bookmarks)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVES: Depth of Winter: A Longmire Mystery (Bookmarks)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVE: Craig Johnson (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVE: Craig Johnson (Kirkus)
    -REVIEW: of Another Man's Moccasins by Craig Johnson (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Another Man's Moccasins (Kirkus)
    -REVIEW: of Another Man's Moccasins (Maddy Van Hertbruggen, Reviewing the Evidence)
    -REVIEW: of Another Man's Moccasins (Kathie Davie)
    -REVIEW: of (Condorena, Murder by Type)
-REVIEW: of The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Any Other Name by Craig Johnson (James E. Casto, Charleston Gazette-Mail)
    -REVIEW: of
-REVIEW: of An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson (Ken Raymond, The Oklahoman)
    -REVIEW: of Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson (Martin Wolk, The Spokesman-Review)
    -REVIEW: of Depth of Winter (Peter Larsen, Orange County Register)
    -REVIEW: of Depth of Winter (Larry Clow, Criminal Element)
    -REVIEW: of Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson (Tom Nolan, WSJ)
    -REVIEW: of Land of Wolves ( James D. Watts Jr., Tulsa World)
    -REVIEW: of Land of Wolves (rOBIN mARTIN, pASA tIEMPO)
    -REVIEW: of Land of Wolves (Michael Schaub, Philadelphia Inquirer)


    -FILMOGRAPHY: Craig Johnson (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Longmire (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Robert Taylor (IMDB)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVE: Longmire (MetaCritic)
    -ARTICLE: Craig Johnson's Longmire (Oline Cogdill, Mystery Scene)
    -REVIEW: Longmire (Ken Tucker, Yahoo!)
    -TV REVIEW: Longmire (Nancy deWolf Smith, Wall Street journal)
    -TV REVIEW: Longmire (David Wiegand, SF Gate)

Book-related and General Links:

The Cold Dish (2004)
Death Without Company (2006)
Kindness Goes Unpunished (2007)
Another Man's Moccasins (2008)
The Dark Horse (2009)
Junkyard Dogs (2010)
Hell is Empty (2011)
Divorce Horse (2012)
As the Crow Flies (2012)
Messenger (2013)
A Serpent's Tooth (2013)
The Spirit of Steamboat (2013)
Any Other Name (2014)
Dry Bones (2015) The Highwayman (2016)
An Obvious Fact (2016)
The Western Star (2017)
Depth of Winter (2018)
Land of Wolves (2019)