17 August 2014


I think crows are ugly and noisy. They are good at cleaning up road kill. Craig Johnson's Sheriff Longmire likes crows. There are crows mentioned in the story. Maybe their presence has some meaning. I don't think so.
One of my finds at Half Priced Books was a 2012 book by Craig Johnson. Johnson, who says he lives in a town with a population of 27 He is the guy who created Sheriff Walt Longmire. I've enjoyed a couple early books and some of the first A&E episodes of Longmire. (The most recent episodes got too dark and threatening for me to enjoy them.)

Well, I got a deal on As the Crow Flies, a story about the things that kept the good sheriff from attending to the details of his daughter's wedding arrangements. He'd promised, and as a widower, his best helper was his buddy Henry Standing Bear. Oh, and his mother-in-law to be, who turned out to be quite capable of stepping in to compensate for the sheriff who gets pulled into murders on the Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. We all "know" that the county sheriff has no authority on the res or in Montana, but Longmire gets arrested and dragged along to the crime scene by the new tribal chief of police, Lolo Long.

It doesn't help that the FBI gets involved and Chief Long is a rookie chief in over her head. And when the primary suspect is murdered, everything gets more complicated. Especially since the Longmire wedding is fast approaching, and someone is manufacturing "evidence."

Well written? Yes. I laid down to read a few pages before sleep one night and an hour and a half later, I had finished the book without realizing it was nearly midnight. This was another book that kept me so occupied I nearly forgot I was actively reading. Johnson uses events to move the plot forward and he is great at describing action in the present tense. He also uses humor to keep the characters realistic and likable.

After finishing, I was tempted to award Johnson an improbability medal, for his use of a peyote-fueled vision quest, but the evidence revealed by the drug was really only a sidelight to the story.

So, here's another recommendation.
I also recommend that you look at plot summaries for the TV series Longmire. I don't know how involved Johnson is in the script writing (I'd guess only minimally), but if the summary looks good, check it out on A&E. The cast and the acting are good. New Mexico does a good job of standing in for Wyoming.

Have you read As the Crow Flies or another Craig Johnson novel? What did you think of it? Write. Tell this little bit of the world what you thought.

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