Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book of the Week - As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson

In a world filled with mystery series, the Walt Longmire series stands out with its tough but appealing Wyoming sheriff, settings that are real enough to smell and taste, and gentle humor even in the face of horrific crimes. In the eighth book of the series (don't worry if you haven't discovered this series yet, you don't have to have read the previous books to love this one), while Walt and his buddy Henry Standing Bear are visiting the Cheyenne Reservation in Montana, working out the details for Walt's daughter's imminent wedding when they see a woman plummet to her death from a remote cliff. Walt's dog, Dog, finds a blanket wrapped baby who survived his mother's fatal fall. The abrasive new tribal police chief, Lolo Long, an Iraqi war veteran, begrudgingly learns from Walt as the murder investigation proceeds with a realistic view of Rez life. Lolo is tough but she needs some polishing to succeed in law enforcement. Her depiction as a wounded warrior who feels unworthy to mother her child, and has taken on a job she feels totally unprepared for, is masterful and complex. I hope she becomes an ongoing part of the series. Longmire's interactions with Dog and the recalcitrant truck, Rezdawg add bits of humor. As a Westerner, a love how Johnson captures the spirit and reality of the rural West and its people.

Some of the books I think about when looking for other reads to satisfy Longmire fans include the novels of Thomas King especially the (tongue in cheek humorous) mysteries he pens as Hartley GoodWeather and Tony Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee mysteries.

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