Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book of the Week - Spirit of Steamboat by Craig Johnson

I'm not ready to think of Christmas yet but I have found a lovely gift for readers who like modern Westerns. This sweet novella starts with a young woman coming into the sheriff's office on Christmas eve with a garment bag and asks Walt Longmire, who is alone for the holiday,  to help her find the old sheriff. When they go to the assisted living facility where Lucien Connally, former sheriff, and one of the WWII pilots who participated in Dolittle's "bombs over Tokyo," we are treated to a tale from 1988, the early years of Walt's tenure as sheriff. With a terrible storm sweeping down from the Rockies, a little girl who will die if not immediately taken to a hospital in Denver, is stranded with her grandmother. The flight for life helicopter can't take off and an ambulance would not make it in time even if the roads weren't closed. Walt, Lucien, a doctor, and a young woman pilot decide to use a decommissioned WWII bomber to try to save her life.

Johnson captures the spirit of the west and adds in authentic detail, such as the checkerboard painted Purina dog food tower on I-25, making the setting come to life. The story of the bucking bronco emblem, distinctively present on Wyoming license plates, was fascinating and added to the understanding of the characters.

This is a great gift for the western guys in your life who may not think they have enough time to tackle a novel, but that this
may be the book that hooks them for the dark days of winter.

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