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June 13, 2012 / John Sheridan

Review: As The Crow Flies by Craig Johnson

Links: Amazon, Kindle, Amazon UK

The Walt Longmire series has been around for a while now with “As The Crow Flies” being #8. It appears to have been steadily growing in popularity and having just finished my first foray into this series it’s easy to see why. With the recent debut of the Longmire tv series in the USA that can only help it grow further. There are references to previous events from preceding books so while newcomers will enjoy it and definitely won’t encounter any difficulty whatsoever, it will have just a shade more depth for those familiar with the series.

There are a number of appealing aspects to this book but probably the best place to start is the overall engaging tone and the cast of characters that the author brings to the stage. Of course, we have the central character of Sheriff Walt Longmire but he is ably supported by recurring characters such as Henry Standing Bear (occasionally aka The Cheyenne Nation) who fits the role of the physically imposing sidekick that is capable of great violence but is also a man of few words as portrayed by sidekicks everywhere. Characters specific to this novel (or at least I’m guessing so) like Lolo Long are equally interesting and well crafted. Indeed, even the truck and dog are nearly fully fledged characters.

The dialogue sparkles throughout will plenty of wry humour included. I particularly enjoyed the definition of Indian Alzheimer’s which is to forget everything but the grudges! I also liked the means of electing Lonnie as chief, if you’re asleep you’re it! Not to mention the stream of jokes courtesy of local dj Herbert His Good Horse. If you’re not familiar with the series you will have gathered by now that it is set on a reservation so if you delight in outdoors mysteries or those featuring minority interests this is one for you.

Walt and Henry are scouting wedding locations for Walt’s daughter, Cady, when everything changes abruptly when a woman falls from an overlooking cliff face with her infant son in her arms. The reservation police chief is a recent appointment and doesn’t have the experience to handle the investigation independently so Walt assists despite the potential repercussions from not having completed his assigned wedding tasks prior to the arrival of his daughter and her new mother-in-law. Their arrival allows for both another line of repartee as well as laying the foundation for an exploration of Walt’s family relationships, his dedication to duty and the inevitable conflict that has arisen between them over the years.

The conclusion is both uplifting and heartwarming. My rating is 4 out of 5.

Amazon synopsis:
Embarking on his eighth adventure, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire has a more important matter on his mind than cowboys and criminals. His daughter, Cady, is getting married to the brother of his undersheriff, Victoria Moretti. Walt and old friend Henry Standing Bear are the de facto wedding planners and fear Cady’s wrath when the wedding locale arrangements go up in smoke two weeks before the big event.

The pair set out to find a new site for the nuptials on the Cheyenne Reservation, but their scouting expedition ends in horror as they witness a young Crow woman plummeting from Painted Warrior’s majestic cliffs. It’s not Walt’s turf, but the newly appointed tribal police chief and Iraqi war veteran, the beautiful Lolo Long, shanghais him into helping with the investigation. Walt is stretched thin as he mentors Lolo, attempts to catch the bad guys, and performs the role of father of the bride.

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