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Any Other Name – A Walt Longmire mystery- Review

Currently on Loan from the Library:

Any Other Name by: Craig Johnson

A Deeper Sleep by: Dana Stabenow

Whisper to the Blood by: Dana Stabenow

The Singing of the Dead by: Dana Stabeow

Other Books I’m Reading:

Galatea 2.2 by: Richard Powers

I admit it. I’ve been in a serious book funk lately. Partially because I’ve been rewriting some of my own work, and finding the first draft to be much less perfect than I had hoped. Partially because I spent several lovely rainy days actually out in the rain and not curled up with a good book.

To break the funk, I decided to order every mystery on my to read list from the library. Which worked out well for me because I ended up first on the list for the new Craig Johnson. Score! I’ll get to the massive amounts of Stabenow I’ve been inhaling in the next couple weeks. Today we’re going to talk Longmire.

Any Other Name starts with Lucian Connally dragging Walt Longmire into the investigation of the suicide of Detective Gerald Holman over in Campbell County. Not Walt’s jurisdiction. Not Walt’s problem. However, Lucian feels like he owes it to the widow, who just happens to be one of Lucian’s ex girlfriends. Of course.

Just let me pause here and say, I love Lucian. Of all the characters that have been lost in translation over to the A&E series, which is a very good series, I miss Lucian the most. If I had to deal with them in real life as a criminal, I’d take Lucian over Walt any day. You always know where you stand with Lucian. He reminds me of that old joke where the newlyweds start out on their honeymoon, and the horse pulling the carriage starts giving the new husband trouble. “That’s one,” the husband says to the horse. When the husband gets to “that’s three” he shoots the horse. Naturally the wife starts yelling at him. “That’s one,” the husband tells her. I always expect Lucian to bust out a “that’s one” on somebody.

Not unexpectedly the investigation of what seems to be a straight forward suicide turns into a full blown search for some missing women. In the course of events we are treated to another freezing, bleeding, haunted, snowbound scene. This time there are buffalo, and it’s in South Dakota. Vic is back and just as rip roaring as ever after being stabbed in A Serpents Tooth. I was about to give up hope on Henry, but then he turned up too. About one page before he was needed. There are also slave traffickers, an embezzler, hit men, trains, strippers, and a guy named Thor.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this book is that it sets up the possibility of a recurring antagonist for the next book. And boy is Vic not going to be happy about that.

All in all a fast paced and enjoyable read. Although maybe Walt needs to think about putting the brakes on his collection of haunted/cursed/unlucky items.

Favorite Scene: It’s a toss up between Lucian flags down the waitress, and Lucian deals decisively with a train. Although, some guy takes it right between the eyes with a staple is pretty darn good too.

Favorite Quote: “You’re sure you want that? Because he’s like a gun; once you point him and pull the trigger, it’s too late to change your mind.”

Enjoyability: Five stars 

Where to read this book: This is a take to the beach, lay out in the back yard read. Just use plenty of sunscreen so you don’t get engrossed and burn.

Further reading: Finishing out the Kate Shugak series. Then maybe some Bernard Cornwell. I haven’t read his most recent one yet. Can you believe that? I really have been in a funk.

The Cold Dish & Death Without Company – Review

Currently on Loan from the Library:

Blindfold Game by: Dana Stabenow

Halt’s Peril by: John Flannagan

What Alice Forgot by: Liane Moriarty

Death Without Company  by: Craig Johnson


Other Books I’m Reading: 

World War Z by: Max Books

Anathem by: Neal Stephenson  (Poor Neal.  He’s been languishing on the night stand for several months now.  To think I was going to read the first book of the Mongliad this summer too.  Ha!)

When the Longmire television series popped up on Netflix, I thought I’d give it a try.  I enjoyed the show.  Then I read the Netflix comments and found out several people really liked the books better than the show.  Books?  That’s when I got all excited.  Because we know how I love a really good book.

The Netflix reviewers were right.  The books are much better, then the very good series.

The whole series of books is set in fictional Absaroka county Wyoming.  Walt Longmire, is the county sheriff.  In The Cold Dish we see Walt try to figure out who is shooting some very guilty young men.  I had actually gotten Death Without Company from the Library and started it, before realizing I really needed to read The Cold Dish first.  That being the case, I knew who the shooter was in The Cold Dish.   This knowledge did not in anyway impede my enjoyment of The Cold Dish.  If anything, I think I enjoyed it more.  I kept wondering how Craig Johnson was going to pull it off.  And then he did.  It was very well done, and at the same time completely heartbreaking.

In Death Without Company an elderly woman dies in a retirement home.  This seems not at all odd to Walt, but sets all the alarms going for the former county sheriff Lucian.  With some serious convincing from Lucian, Walt starts to investigate what looks like a routine death, and stumbles onto a sixty year old murder mystery.

Interestingly, these books are written in the first person.  I wouldn’t have thought that I’d relish the thoughts of a Wyoming sheriff.  I was wrong.  Walt is intelligent, in possession of a rich inner landscape, and funny.  Between Henry’s remarks, and Walt’s internal monologue, I was laughing for a good half of these books.  Also, there was a literary reference I had to look up in The Cold Dish.  That does not happen often.

There are many colorful supporting characters.  Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s best friend.  Ferg, Turk, Sancho, and Vic, the deputies.  Ruby, Walt’s secretary.  Dorothy, the woman who runs the local restaurant.  Having read the books, I have to say that Katee Sackhoff’s casting as Vic in the television series is completely inspired.  The physical description in the book doesn’t match, and I don’t even care.  Even without having seen the television series Katee would have been Vic in my head.  You’d be that pissed off too if they took away your fighter and stranded you in Wyoming without a Cylon in sight.

These books do not have any scenes of corporeal exuberance.   At least not yet.  There is a rape in Death Without Company.  However, it is not unnecessarily graphic, and is very much in keeping with the characters and plot.  I will say that like a Bernard Cornwell book, these books are not for sensitive readers.  Walt is dealing with some seriously blood soaked vistas.  Which is only to be expected.

Unlike Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series – which has left me with an unreasonable fear of getting eaten by bears, or shot by Germans in any part of Alaska outside Anchorage – these books leave me thinking I could deal with Wyoming.  I’ll just need a 20 gauge.  Well, okay, maybe a 20 gauge, and a .357.  My husband says that would be fine with him.  I’d at least shoot in the right direction.

Also, apparently, if an Indian gives you something and tells you that it’s haunted, believe him.


Enjoyability: Five stars, and a Bullet. 

Where to read this book:  I’ve been reading these on a blanket in the back yard while the kids play.  I highly recommend it.   

Further reading:  I should probably read more Anathem.  It doesn’t do to neglect Neal.   

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