So I guess I’m a fan of these Longmire books.
I’ve now read the first four, and while I’d like to get them all in a big pile and shut myself off from all responsibility and just read, I’m not doing that. I’m taking one at a time, with a few books in between, so I can enjoy them and not be completely pissed off when I run out.
Four books into the series, and we’re still learning small details about all of our main characters, but not just that. I’ve learned about Wyoming, Vietnam, the differences between various Native American tribes indigenous to the Wyoming area, cop families, and physical therapy. There is a lot happening here.
I first finished Kindness Goes Unpunished, which was interesting because it was not set in Wyoming. Walt and Henry go on a road trip to Philadelphia. Henry is showing his vast collection of historical photographs in a museum, and Walt is going to see his daughter, Cady, and her super-terrific-awesome lawyer boyfriend. He also tells Vic that he’ll pop by and say hey to her family of police officers.
But Walt never gets to meet cool new boyfriend. Instead, on his first night in town, Cady is brutally assaulted and Walt finds himself at her hospital bedside. And so, Walt, Henry, Vic and her family, and a few assorted locals band together to figure out who attacked Cady, and why.
Oh, and this book has some sexy times, too. Walt has a little bit of a smolder session with Vic’s mom (please, bring her to the Netflix show, and please, let Patty LuPone play her), but he also has quite a moment with Vic. You go, Walt!
The next book was Another Man’s Moccasins, about the murder of a young Vietnamese girl in the middle of a field in Wyoming. She has no identification with her, but she does have a old photo in her purse of a young Vietnamese woman and a young US Marine back in the 1960s…and of course, that Marine is Walt.
Who is this girl and why did she have a picture of Walt with her? What about the Native American giant who was hiding in a tunnel with her purse when her body was found? And what’s going on in that abandoned mining town down the road?
Johnson effectively fills in the blanks by using flashbacks to Walt and Henry’s time in Vietnam. We learn Walt’s dedication to justice and the truth come from, and we see Henry as a daring (often ridiculously so) young soldier fighting for his country.
And the stuff that takes place in present day Wyoming is pretty good, too. Cady is on the mend, getting her strength back and dating Vic’s brother, Michael. Lucien is still crazy and a racist. Ruby doesn’t stand for nonsense (or singing) and is clearly the brains of the entire operation. Sancho is settling in to his new job very well, and we learn a little bit more about him and few of the other officers in Absaroka County.
I enjoyed that both of these stories introduced their locales (Philadelphia and Vietnam) as an important character, relevant to the story. Craig Johnson describes some of the gorgeous local Philly art and architecture in loving detail. And I learned a lot about Vietnam (who knew that the original Hotel California was actually an old fort on a military base?). I love a book that urges me to learn more about what I’m reading, and these both did the trick. I was happily googling along, looking up landmarks and maps.
I also like that Johnson isn’t making things easy for Vic and Walt. Are they a couple? Are they not? Should they be? I have no idea. But I’ll keep reading to see where it goes. It looks like there are 12 of these mysteries, and I look forward to enjoying them all.