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As the Crow Flies: A Longmire Mystery Paperback – May 28, 2013
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“Walt continues to be excellent company because he’s always keen to learn something from the strong Indian characters in this series…This time a wizened old medicine woman takes Walt in hand, guiding him through a Native American Church peyote ceremony deep in the woods…he [has] a vision that expands his mind and helps him solve the case.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“A top-notch tale of complex emotions and misguided treachery… Crow is a superb novel steeped in the culture of the American West.”—USA Today
“The pleasure of the series rests in Walt’s narration, with its laid-back, observant, bemused recounting of events…Solid landscapes, a mélange of fully fleshed characters (familiar and new), drily laconic dialogue and assorted power struggles—including Walt’s endless war with Rezdawg, Henry’s recalcitrant, falling-apart truck—keep the latest in this rich and satisfying series on engaging course.”—Houston Chronicle
“Walt’s voice lets readers in on his gentle and wry nature, while showcasing his devotion to bringing bad guys or gals to justice…Johnson enriches his narrative by using the setting itself as another well-developed character. Johnson’s Northern Cheyenne characters defy stereotype with self-depreciating humor and strength. Chief Lolo Long and Tribal Chief Lonnie Little Bird are especially well-crafted and appealing.”—The Denver Post
“Johnson expertly highlights his conflicted hero’s dual role as father and sheriff in this deeply satisfying installment.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“All the elements his fans love are present: lively characters, easy banter, and, of course, a touch of the supernatural. In early books, Walt was less sure of himself, but, in his eighth adventure, it makes sense that he’s now the one “giving sheriff lessons.” This book fits the hand like a well-worn glove.”—Booklist
About the Author
Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.
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Top customer reviews
I like the fact that Walt has a sense of humor. In As the Crow Flies, Walt is sitting by a man who gets shot in the mouth by a bartender and sees, “ blood, tissue, and teeth scattering…onto the table.” When Lucian, an old coot who was sheriff before Walt, asks Walt how the guy is doing, he responds, “Alive, but he’s going to need some dental work.” He’s also smart quoting Shakespeare, explaining the caste system of India, and is an encyclopedia on the history of the old west. As Lucian says, “Better than a bookmobile.” The thing I don’t like about Walt, but I’m sure some would call it heroic, is that he is tenacious to a fault. Once he starts a case, he finishes it no matter whether his daughter is getting married or she’s having a baby.
If you want a break from all of these high tech procedurals and from big city soot and crime, pop the top of a Rainer beer, Walt’s favorite, sit in front of a roaring fire and read away. You might even want to buy a pair of new boots…To save you time, here is a list of Johnson’s books in order. It does help to read them in order. There is some sequence plotting…Cold Dish, Death Without Company, Kindness Goes Unpunished, Another Man’s Mocassins, The Dark Horse, Junkyard Dogs, Hell is Empty, Divorce Horse, As the Crow Flies, Christmas in Absaroka County, Messenger, A Serpent’s Tooth, The Steamboat, Any Other Name, Dry Bones.
As the Crow Flies, his latest novel in the series, begins with Walt trying to prepare for his only daughter Cady's upcoming wedding on the Cheyenne Reservation in two weeks. He and his long-time friend, Henry Standing Bear, must scramble to find a new site after losing Crazy Head Springs to an Indian language workshop. However, while checking out another potential site, a young woman falls to her death from the overhanging cliff in front of them and her infant son miraculously survives. Even with the wedding date drawing closer, Walt is compelled to discover what happened; was it a horrific accident, suicide, or was she pushed?
The tribal police chief, Lolo Long, an Iraqi war vet with minimal police background and a quick temper, appeals to Walt for help with the case. Even though she had initially arrested him, Walt takes her under his wing and guides Long through the investigation as he also attempts to juggle the wedding details for Cady. The bakery called about the cake, the future in-laws need to be picked up at the airport, and his only source of transportation is Henry's ancient temperamental Chevy, Rezdawg.
Johnson's writing is delightful with it's wonderfully wry sense of humor and well written plots. But it is the characters that really make the story: the humble and self-deprecating Walt; his stoic and sage sidekick, Henry; the deliciously profane deputy sheriff, Vic; even Rezdawg, the truck he hates more than anything, has a personality of it's own. Johnson takes an intimate moment between Walt and the stressed bride-to-be to explain to her how he and her mother met and married, places the scene in a casino and it still brought tears to my eyes. And, like in the other novels, Walt has an ethereal, out of body, spiritual experience; this time fueled by peyote. A very interesting scene.
His last book, Hell is Empty, centered mostly on a lone Walt chasing a criminal through the cruel and freezing Bighorn mountains and I found myself missing Vic and Dorothy and Lucian and Sancho and Ruby. This book gives Walt's relationship with Henry more dimension, shows a tender side of Walt concerning his late wife, and introduces a fabulous Lolo Long who I hope we see again in the future. But I truly, truly miss Vic and her sharp, outspoken, in your face, foul-mouthed personality. We see her at the beginning, the end and in two phone conversations in this book and that was not enough for me.
I highly recommend As the Crow Flies and it's book series and if Craig Johnson comes to your town for a book signing, by all means go and meet this guy. He's funny, engaging and is a damn fine storyteller.
I love the relationships that Walt has - they are funny, flawed and wonderful. The storyline is engaging and the issues he faces in this book are ones that I find myself caring about. It's a great escapism read and hard to put down.