Any Other Name by Craig Johnson: A review

Is it ever summer in Wyoming? Or spring? Or fall? It always seems to be winter in these Craig Johnson novels. Winter with a blizzard blowing and ground fog creeping up making for whiteout conditions. And into such disorienting conditions that would stupefy and overwhelm any ordinary human being, Walt Longmire must venture in order to pursue some really, really bad guy who must be brought to justice. Not only will he pursue but he will do so in spite of the fact that he has been shot and/or beaten and may be barely lucid, but he is led on by the spectral voice of his long-dead friend Virgil White Buffalo or by the otherworldly songs and drums of the ancient Cheyenne residents of the area. Such hallucinatory events play a big part in the Longmire psyche.

Indeed, the plots of these Longmire mysteries have become pretty predictable. After all, if you've got a winning formula, why change it?

We start out with Walt investigating some murder. In this instance, it's not even a death in his county and may not even be murder, but his old friend and mentor, Lucian Connally, inveigles him into probing into the facts surrounding a death in an adjoining county that was ruled a suicide. The widow doesn't believe it and the widow is an old "friend" of Lucian's.

The victim was an investigator for the sheriff's department assigned to looking into cold cases or unsolved cases. Walt's investigation reveals that the man was looking into the disappearances of three women in the area and it looks like the disappearances could be related. It seems that there could be a serial killer, or at least a serial kidnapper, in the area. But, for some unknown reason, the investigator had checked into a local motel, locked the door, and then shot himself twice in the head. The first was a glancing blow but the second was a killing shot. 

Walt can't find anything to disprove suicide but he wonders why this man with a spotless reputation for integrity would have taken his own life. It turns out to be a very complicated tale that Walt must solve while working against the clock. 

That clock is quickly running down to the time his first grandchild is supposed to arrive in Philadelphia and his daughter, Cady, insists that he be there. He's got a plane to catch, but can he catch the bad guys first?

Meantime, his "undersheriff" Victoria Moretti - he always calls her his undersheriff, although she seems to prefer to be on top - shows up at the motel where Walt is staying and jumps his bones. They have hot, rumply sex, which is never actually described but only alluded to. (This, too, is a standard feature of these plots.) And then Vic assists him in his investigation.

In the end, we return to the situation as I've described in the first paragraph. There. I've given you the plot outlines of Craig Johnson's books, so now you don't have to read them. But if you don't, you'll miss out on a lot of sardonic wit and sparkling dialog between the characters who inhabit and assist the Absaroka Sheriff's Department, as well as vivid descriptions of the Wyoming landscape. That unique humor that often makes me laugh out loud is the main reason why I keep reading this series.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars  

Comments

  1. Good summary and a convincing reason for why you read Craig Johnson. Hubby is waiting for a new one from him.

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    1. They are fun reads which is just what I need at the moment.

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  2. What other reasons must there be than to have a good laugh and a good time, even if the plots are predictable? :-)

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    Replies
    1. Most series plots are predictable to some extent, I guess, but Johnson/Longmire is always good for some chuckles and that's a selling point for this particular series.

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