The Western Star

Book Notes

Really now, the previous book I read cured me of my current non-fiction streak (of five books! wow!). I really needed a good, fun read to put the enjoyment back in my obsessive daily reading. I had little surprise that Johnson's Longmire would do the trick.

I enjoyed the book. I read a few reviews of the book where the readers were complaining about the cliff-hanger at the end. It didn't bother me. There were two intertwined plots happening in the book, one from 1972 on the Western Star, a train, and the other in contemporary time, which was a continuation of the previous arch-nemesis Longmire books. The first plot's mystery was clever, with a few good misdirections. That Longmire knew more than the reader is fine. The modern-time plot is fine, nothing terribly surprising.

There were fewer hit-you-in-the-gut quotable lines in this book, which is also fine. I enjoyed the book. I'll keep reading the Longmire series. The TV series? Garbage, not watching that any more, as it ruins the book Longmire.

“I can reconcile my devotion to the law and the knowledge that a lawful course can sometimes be immoral.”
Page 144

“You want to know what I learned in Vietnam? I learned that if you’re lucky, I mean really lucky, you find the one thing you want in life and then you go after it; you give up everything else because all the rest of that stuff really doesn’t matter.”
Page 151

“Then what should I do?” He dropped the remains of his unsatisfactory sandwich into a brown paper bag and wiped the corner of his mouth with a folded paper towel.

The Highwayman

Book Notes

Despite Longmire being a complete and total asshat in the television series (why, oh why was Lou Diamond Philips cast as Henry Standing Bear, then morphed into a whiny small man?), Longmire in the books is still a fantastic character. I'm still reading Johnson's Longmire books with enthusiasm.

And this one doesn't fail to entertain.

See how I just blew off that grammar rule about not starting a sentence with the word "and?" Ah, the delights of not writing an essay for a grade.

Anyway, Longmire. The book is a novella, which means it is shorter than a full novel, as is the case with this book. There isn't an involved mystery, though there is a small mystery and a couple coincidences that end up being not-so-coincidentals. There are also a number of super-natural occurrences, of which I'm not a big fan, but the mind can play tricks, and what one calls a ghost, another can call adrenaline and hallucinations.

I enjoyed the book, and recommend if you're a Longmire fan, keep reading. If you're not yet a Longmire fan, start at the beginning of the series. There's some weird stuff in this book that references events from the first couple books.

“He grew up—every once in a while it happens—been there, done that. Hell, you know as well as I do that young outlaws make the best lawmen.”
Location 296

“I think we’re all haunted, by one thing or another.”
Location 576

We’re taught to work independently, but nothing strikes you quite like a 10-78, the urgency to reach a fellow officer in need. It’s instinctual to individuals who are trained to respond and risk their lives for each other and complete strangers.
Location 640

An Obvious Fact

Book Notes

Walt Longmire, Book 12

Well, this one, too, didn't take me long to read. For some reason I do not understand, I felt like reading five books this week. This means either I'm prioritizing reading well, or I'm working to escape something. Given I've been reading Meditations, too, I'm not escaping, so there's that.

I've also been "watching" (ne, listening) to the Longmire television series and hate, hate, hate what they've done with the Longmire character. He is such an ass in the show And Branch? Stupid rewrite.

ANYWAY. This book.

Loved it. Still enjoying the wit (so many laughs out loud), cultural references (love these, and the rabbit holes of Wikipedia that I go down), and history lessons in these books, with this book being no exception. This time, I wrote down most of the references, because I'm doing that lately. This book is about how Standing Bear goes to race in a vertical-mountain motorbike race near and during Sturgis, and Walt walks into a crime to be solved, even though everyone warns him away. The mystery was well unrolled, making the surrounding character development interesting.

Again, if you're a Longmire fan, keep reading, this is one of the good ones. If you haven't tried the Longmire books yeet, read one of the earlier books to see if you like them. Well, read one of the good ones at least.

Now, on to the extracted quotes and history lessons!

“He’s calling it the Pequod; even ordered up decals to put the name on the side. Now where did he get that name from?”
page 70

Pequod is the name of Moby Dick's Captain Ahab's ship.

Dry Bones

Book Notes

Walt Longmire, Book 11

Well, that didn't take me long to read. Being sick means you can sit around and read. I will admit, however, I would have liked to have listened to this book, as sometimes when sick even reading is difficult.

This particular Longmire mystery involves, HEY, A DEAD GUY. It also involves a dinosaur, which is nifty. We also find out in this book that there are 2483 people living in (the fictional) Absaroka County, Wyoming. Seriously, if there were that many murders in that small of a county that I was living in, I sure as hell would move away from that county. Of course, hell isn't really sure, so maybe I'd stay because I loved living there. Who knows.

This book was more of an action-packed conversation than a mystery. We have the dead body in the first few pages, and not so much of a hunt for the killer as a confusing twist of related actions that make sense in the end just sorta happen along the way. The dialogue is still great, I laughed a number of places, and was engaged throughout the book. This isn't the best Longmire book that Johnson has written, but it was entertaining enough to enjoy and keep reading the series.

So, if you're a Longmire fan, keep reading. If you're not, read one of the earlier books to see if you like them before reading this one.

Wait for Signs

Book Notes

Walt Longmire, Collected Shorts

No Walt Longmire collection is complete without this collection of short stories. Few (any? I can't recall) are mysteries (no, wait, at least one was), most of them being adventures of some sort, with all of them being further insight into the mythical world of Absaroka County, Wyoming.

The stories were originally published as Christmas stories for fans, and not available in collection form (or at all, maybe, depending on the original publications, none of which I'm actually bothering to track down, to be honest). I'm late enough to the Longmire train that they are available in one volume, which delights me.

Each story takes place in a well defined time in the Longmire saga. While they could have been entertaining to read properly in order with the full-length mysteries, I still enjoyed reading them all at once in the end, as I wait for Dry Bones to come out NOT SOON ENOUGH (cough, three weeks).

So, for any Longmire fan, this collection is totally recommended. I had a number of laugh-out-loud moments in the book: Johnson's wit is still sharp.

Any Other Name

Book Notes

Walt Longmire, Book 10

Yep. Keep reading the series. The next book is due out in about a month. Shock! I preordered it.

This Walt Longmire book is another mystery book. It starts with a death. I have to say, I find it a rather relief in contrast from the Bosch books where the bad guy is ALWAYS A COP. Not in this series. I'm still enjoying the wit, cultural references and history lessons in these books. We finally see some emotion in the man, and, holy shit, his visions are actual, real life, physical entities! Hot damn! No, wait, no they aren't. It's weird. Worth reading.

What I find amusing in this particular book is that while, once again, Longmire is stunningly impossibly super-human in his physical endurance and recovery, in this book, EVERYONE ACKNOWLEDGES IT. Hallelujah, praise Hey-zeus, and all that. One really doesn't get shot, walk miles in a blizzard dripping blood from the open carotid artery, and manage to function just two days later. Doesn't happen. Yet, sometimes you need a hero, so the author gives you one, but reminds you with another character that, well, getting shot in passing in the gut really is a mortal issue needing attending. Not that you can tell with Longmire.

Did I mention the worth reading part? Well, I meant it. This series is going on the list with the Dresden books. Speaking of, when is the next one due out? Has to be before the next Song of Ice and Fire. F'ing GRRM schedule.

Didn't really want to watch Longmire anyway


Okay, since I'm nearing the end of the published books of the Walt Longmire series, I bothered to look up the television series details. I've been meaning to start watching the series since book one, and thought I'd check out how the series was handled. There are some plot points in the first book that I thought might be tricky, and I wasn't very excited to read that Lou Diamond Phillips was cast as Henry Standing Bear in the television version - mostly because the man IS NOT SIX FOOT FIVE AND BROAD OF CHEST, come on, there's no way that Phillips can stand in Bear's shoes / moccasins / whatever footwear you want to use, few people can. It's like casting for Jack Reacher's described character, it's hard, nearly impossible, but only nearly impossible. Phillips is not Bear, no matter how many Indians / Native Americans / First Nation people he has played on TV. Nope. Nada.

Spirit of Steamboat

Book Notes

Walt Longmire, Book 9.5

So, apparently, Johnson writes Longmire books for the fun of it. Sometimes they are short stories which are released, say, around every Christmas time, to be later gathered into a compendium for those who either missed the individual stories, or want to have them all in one place. And sometimes, when he starts writing a short story, it just sorta gets away from him. Or so, this is what he said when explaining the existence of the Spirit of Steamboat, a half-sized, not mystery, Walt Longmire book.

I have to say, I rather liked this book because it wasn't a mystery. It was a Walt Longmire adventure, which is great in its own right. But better than that, this book had the elements of suspense that, in this case, I would argue, were stronger than in the mystery books. And suspense in a good sense, too, the OMG OMG OMG KEEP READING READ FASTER sort of way that I like, not the torturous "omg what the f--- is going on I can't read this any more" sort of discomfort way that causes me to skip to the end of the book sort of way that I hate.

I was amused when Johnson had Walt hear the drums in the rotors and remark on them, given that Walt was surprised to hear the drums in the first of the Longmire series. So, either he didn't hear any drums in the intervening 22 years, or all the crazy antics between this book and book one of the series caused amnesia in the man. Both are plausible, given how much physical abuse Longmire takes when doing The Right Thing™.

Totally recommended.

Serpent's Tooth

Book Notes

Walt Longmire, Book 9

Okay, I was somewhat excited to be reading a Walt Longmire book that didn't start off with some murder investigation. I mean, there are only so many deaths you can have in a small county before everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, notices and gets the fuck out of there. Okay, yes, some of the books were about escaped convicts, but even that resulted in a lot of death. And one particular story had only a stolen horse.

This one, the main plot premise doesn't involve the investigation into a death. Hot damn.

Once again, Johnson doesn't disappoint with a fast paced modern day, small down, western mystery. The clues were a little too obvious in this book as to what was going on, which, of course, leads the reader to think, COME ON, DON'T BE DUMB, at the characters. Of course, in Johnson style, Longmire has figured out what's going on, and it just playing along until the right time to expose his knowledge.

I really wish I would learn the art of playing along.

I enjoyed this book. I'm nearing the end of the written Longmire books, as there are only two left. I guess I'll have to wait for Johnson to write more. At least he doesn't write at GRRM pace. Gah, would suck.