Christmas is a time of tradition and reflection, of feeling thankful for what life grants. Sheriff Walt Longmire’s holiday ritual is re-reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It looks to be a lonesome holiday for Walt and Dog this year, Cady is nesting in Philly, Henry Standing Bear has a new lady friend, and Vic is in Belize. The holiday is shaping up to be Walt, Dog, the former Sheriff Lucian Connolly and a chessboard. Ruby alerts Walt to the presence of a dark haired woman needing to see him. She has something to deliver to Lucian.
Her visit transports Walt and Lucian back to 1988 when a horrific accident left a little girl hanging onto life by a thread. Wyoming is under siege by one of those maelstroms of snow and wind that come along about once a century just to reassure you how feisty Mother Nature can be. The medevac helicopter cannot make it to Denver. None of the light planes at the small airport have a chance against the ferocity of the wind. There is one plane, a dinosaur from WWII, with the speed, power, and heft to fight out in the storm. But no pilot is able to fly the old bomber, except former Sheriff Lucian Connolly, the Doolittle Raider is intimately acquainted with the craft but it has been a while since he bailed out over the China Sea back in the big war. So as the story opens Walt, Lucian and Doc are preparing to fly a relic into the storm of the century in an attempt to save the life of a young burn victim. Long odds on success and a pretty good chance of being scattered all over the Wyoming landscape. Long odds indeed. Walt, Lucian, and Doc are men made to eat up such odds. Walt’s reply “…it’s a question of what you have to do, what you have to live with if you don’t.”
Followers of Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series will enjoy meeting Walt in his first year as Sheriff and a younger Lucian Connolly. This book stands on its own, destined to be a holiday favorite.— Deon Stonehouse