Photo by Adam Jaheil
September 26 at 4 PM Pacific Time and 5 PM Mountain Time our favorite cowboy, Craig Johnson, along with Robert Taylor, Katee Sackof,f will give a presentation on the latest in the New York Times bestselling Walt Longmire series, Next To Last Stand. It releases September 22. The event will be via Zoom . Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to attend. Pre-ordering The Next To Last Stand from Sunriver Books would be much appreciated and helpful.
Charley Lee Stillwater’s death by heart attack at the Wyoming Home for Soldiers and Sailors presents Sheriff Walt Longmire with a conundrum. Why does Charley have a shoebox with a million dollars and a painting? Custer’s Last Fight by Cassilly Adams depicting the Battle of the Little Big Horn was painted in three giant panels. Adolphus Busch paid $30,000 for the painting, and Anheuser-Busch gave away copies that hung in bars across the west promoting Budweiser Beer. A fire in Fort Bliss Texas destroyed the painting in 1946, or did it? And away we go!
Craig Johnson’s Sheriff Walt Longmire series is a treasure. He presents likeable characters with a strong moral compass who face situations that challenge. They become like good friends to the reader, each new book is an opportunity to see what is happening with Walt, Henry Standing Bear and Vic. Vic is the toughest of the group, she never backs down and is ready to take on all comers. Walt, a big guy able to handle trouble, would just as soon settle things amicably. Henry Standing Bear is a charmer! Funny and bright, but loyal to his friends and deadly when the situation requires it. Craig Johnson lives in Wyoming, he makes the landscape a character in the books, so vividly is it portrayed. Reading can feel like visiting those wide-open spaces.
I have read every one of the series, many of the them more than once because I enjoy them so much.
Craig Johnson is always entertaining! He has been a loyal friend to Sunriver Books & Music since we opened. The Sheriff Walt Longmire series has a long list of prestigious awards including Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/Bibliobs, Wyoming Historical Association’s Book of the Year, France’s Le Prix 813, the Spur Award, the Mountains and Plains Book of the Year, the Watson Award, the Library Journal’s Best Mystery of the Year, and the Rocky award. They are internationally bestselling books with a well deserved following.
Cold Dish introduces the characters. The story revolves around four white boys who escaped serious consequences for raping a Native American high school girl. Years later, someone is shooting them one by one.
Death Without Company opens with a death in an assisted living facility. Former Sheriff Lucien Connolly is positive the death was murder; The story goes to the past, a woman hard done by, and the Basque community.
Kindness Goes Unpunished moves the action to Philadelphia where Cady, Walt’s daughter, is a lawyer. Walt wants to meet her new beau. Henry Standing Bear is involved in a photo exhibition so the two men travel together, where they will meet trouble as they always do, side by side.
Another Man’s Moccasins finds a dead Vietnamese girl along a road in Wyoming with a picture of Walt from years ago in Vietnam. The story moves back in time to Walt as a young Marine in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
Dark Horse has Walt holding a prisoner he fears is innocent. She was discovered with a gun in her hand, a shot dead husband in her burned house, and a confession. It doesn’t add up for Walt, he goes undercover to find the truth. The horse is pretty cool too!
Junkyard Dogs is one of my favorite! The opening scene is priceless. An expensive new McMansion subdivision looks out to snowcapped mountains and down on a dump. The developer wants the dump closed. Add a Romeo and Juliet story for the older set and you have a heady brew of greed, passion, and intrigue.
Hell is Empty lets all the devils loose in a snow storm where Walt follows a band of stone-cold killers after a hand off of prisoners to the Feds goes tragically awry. He climbs up the mountainside entering the circles of hell after armed and deadly men.
As the Crow Flies introduces Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long. She proved her bravery in Iraq, but her hair trigger temper and inexperience are not ideal in a Police Chief. Oddly enough, the prickly Lolo is immune to Henry Standing Bear’s considerable charms.
A Serpent’s Tooth begins with discovering Cord, a “lost boy” ejected from a rogue polygamous Mormon splinter group. Henry Standing Bear and Walt cross state lines to try and find answers at a heavily armed Mormon compound while Cord discovers movie DVDs and is inspired to try his hand at horse rustling. Cord is soon joined by his self-proclaimed protector, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Man of God, Sun of Thunder blessed by Joseph Smith himself, a man who died over a century ago.
Any Other Name. One of Former Sheriff Lucian Connolly’s cronies, Detective Gerald Holman, either committed suicide (the official version) or was helped from this world. Holman was working cold cases, not anything that should have turned deadly. Lucian asks his former protégée Sheriff Walt Longmire to figure out what went wrong.
Dry Bones. The last place any cop wants to be is in the middle of a territorial dispute between the FBI, the Justice Department, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, a local ranching family, and a museum of sorts. That’s exactly where Sheriff Walt Longmire finds himself when the largest most complete T-Rex skeleton is discovered on a ranch owned by the Lone Elk family. If there is a lot of money in the equation, the sum total is bound to be trouble. Millions are up for grabs. the issues of ownership murky.
An Obvious Fact takes Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear to Hulett, Wyoming near Devil’s Tower National Monument and across the border from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Henry intends to race in a dirt bike competition. The two men travel in Henry’s 68 Thunderbird, Lola, named for a mysterious woman from Henry’s past. Lola the original, a stunningly dangerous beauty, shows up. Henry Standing Bear is reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories; a quote is apt, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
The Western Star moves seamlessly between two time frames. Current day Sheriff Walt Longmire, Deputy Vic Moretti, and former Sheriff Lucian Connolly head to Cheyenne where they will unite with Henry Standing Bear, combining a visit to Walt’s daughter Cady with an attempt to stop the compassionate release of a prisoner. Back in 1972 Walt was in his first days as a deputy, boarding the legendary train, Western Star, with his mentor, Sheriff Lucian Connolly. The Sheriffs were riding across the state to relax, party a bit with other officers, and have a good time. On this ride, not all of the Sheriffs who board will survive.
Depth of Winter is a gripping story of daring and sacrifice. There are some things worthy of risking your life. At the top of Longmire’s list is his daughter Cady. Alone Walt Longmire travels to Mexico where Cady is held captive by a sadistic drug lord with grievances against Longmire and the knowledge of how to hurt him most. In a land where he has no jurisdiction, a country he was forbidden entry he goes into the heart of a bleak, desert landscape against an army of vicious drug runners.
Land of Wolves opens with Sheriff Walt Longmire and Deputy Vic Moretti heading into the high country to assess the death of a sheep. A lone wolf has moved into the area, he is deemed the probable culprit in the sheep’s demise, Don, the County Brand Inspector, and Chuck, with the National Forest Service, are of the opinion that shooting the wolf would solve the problem. Vic is against the solution (professional courtesy), and Walt isn’t too keen on shooting either. Walt and Vic find the shepherd dead in suspicious circumstances. This ups the ante considerably; Walt’s focus is on catching a two-legged predator. Many years ago, Beltran Extepare was sent to prison for shooting off former Sheriff Lucian Connolly’s leg. His son, Abarrane Extepare, employed the dead shepherd. Memories are long in the Basque Community and the Extepare family has shown a fondness for using guns to solve their quarrels. Tempers are flare between a conservationist wanting the wolf left in peace and others wanting it shot.
There are also 3 excellent novellas; Spirit of Steamboat, Wait for Signs, and The Highwayman.
Photo of Craig and Judy Johnson by Brooke Snavely
Photo of Craig Johnson speaking at SHARC by Sue Dougherty