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Thursday, May 24, 2012

As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson

Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire's daughter will be getting married in two weeks, and he and Henry Standing Bear are checking out a scenic location for the wedding in As the Crow Flies, when they witness a young Indian woman fall from a cliff.

Accident, murder, suicide?  Although they are in Montana and out of Longmire's territory, he becomes involved in the investigation.

I've loved the two books in the Sheriff Longmire series I've read, and I'm just as pleased with this one.

Craig Johnson does an excellent job of bringing characters to life, describing the settings, and pulling together tight plot lines laced with both drama and humor.  This is the third in the series I've read, but I want to go back and pick up the earlier books as well.

What I like:  the characters, the humor, the information on Native Americans, the politically incorrect jokes that Indians tell about themselves, the dignity ascribed to certain elders and cultural practices, the friendship between Walt and Henry Standing Bear, the prose, the allusions (although there are fewer in this novel)....

Johnson creates believable characters; whether likable or not, they are never caricatures or stereotypes.  They are uniquely human and treated with respect.

Aided by Henry Standing Bear, and in this book, by the new Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long, Sheriff Longmire investigates Audrey Plain Feather's death, and he carries us with him in the investigation with an adept skill that brings us quietly and easily into his world.

What I dislike:  Nothing.

Oh, and I love the last names:  Katrina Walks Nice,  Herbert His Good Horse,  Audrey Plain Feather, Clarence Last Bull, Artie Small Song.... and Elk Shoulder,  Fire Crow,  Old Mouse,  Bear Comes Out,  Crazy Mule,  Bobtail Horse.

If you haven't read any of the this series,  you're missing something.  If you like Tony Hillerman or Michael McGarrity or other mysteries set in the West,  give Craig Johnson a try.  In fact, of the three (and I like them all), my favorite may be Johnson's Longmire series.

Another one from Netgalley.

Fiction.  Mystery.  May 2012.  print version- 320 pages.  Penguin Group.


  1. That's another series I didn't know but I like what you write about it. I like books with Native American culture in them so will have to keep this in mind.

  2. Jennie, this sounds like a series I would love! What tribe is featured in the series? As you know, I'm trying to read from my personal collection this year, but might have to make an exception for these. I'll look for them on Kindle.

  3. Jen--already downloaded the first in this series to my Kindle and now looking forward to reading about Northern Cheyennes. I've really missed Tony Hillerman.

  4. Caroline - I've really enjoyed this series and will go back and pick up the first ones eventually!

    Teresa - Henry Standing Bear is a Cheyenne, but one of the interesting things is the contrast Johnson includes between culture/social mores, etc. between the different tribes.

    I hope you enjoy this series as much as I have. I started with The Cold Dish, then read Hell Is Empty because those were the ones the library had. As the Crow Flies is an ARC from Netgalley.

    Cant' wait to see what you think and to hear about what goes on in the earlier books! You taught on a reservation, right?

  5. Sounds like a series I would like! I just read The Road to Grace by Richard Paul Evans. If you don't know, it is the most recent in the Walk series. I really liked it and plan to read some of the previous books in the series, thanks to the public library :)

  6. Nancy - I'm not familiar with the author or the series--I'll have to check into it!