"Sheriff Walt Longmire had already rounded up a sizable posse of devoted readers when the A&E television series Longmire sent the Wyoming lawman's popularity skyrocketing. Now, with three consecutive New York Times bestsellers to his name and the second season of Longmire reaching an average of 5.4 million viewers per episode, Craig Johnson is reaching a fan base that is both fiercely loyal and ever growing. In Any Other Name, Walt is sinking into high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Conally, asks him to take on a mercy case in an adjacent county. Detective Gerald Holman is dead and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of his first grandchild, Walt learns that the by-the-book detective might have suppressed evidence concerning three missing women. Digging deeper, Walt uncovers an incriminating secret so dark that it threatens to claim other lives even before the sheriff can serve justice--Wyoming style"--
The suicide, once Walt gives it a good poke, is far more complicated than it seems. He soon finds out that not only was the old friend a cop, but the wife
Walt gets tangled in the complicated case, even though daughter his Cady will be producing Walt’s first grandchild momentarily, and fully expects her father to be present.
There are lots of good interactions and humor between Walt and his friend Henry Standing Bear. Other western details I especially enjoyed include finding oneself in a blizzard afoot in a herd of bison, and the detailing of the Historic Lodge in the Black Hills that once acted as the Summer White house. If you are a train aficionado, the coal trains play a large part as well.
Even with the good moments, this installment seemed a little recycled to me. Walt himself tells a cabby there are statistically only twenty murders a year in Wyoming. (How many have occurred in the last year in these books? No wonder he's now working on one in South Dakota.) The crime is one we have seen before, although in another form. And the question of Walt making it out alive, much less in time to be at the grandchild’s birth didn’t really engage me. I found this question much too similar to whether Walt would make it to Cady’s wedding in a previous volume.
Still fun, lots of great original western details and humor even if the suspense was lacking.
Lucian owes the dead detective a debt, so he takes Walt into a neighboring county to talk with the man's widow, who simply cannot believe that her husband committed suicide. Lucian has some sage advice for the grieving woman:
"I want to warn you that if you put Walt on this you're going to find out what it's all about, one way or the other.... You're sure you want that? Because he's like a gun; once you point him and pull the trigger, it's too late to change your mind."
And that's one of the main things readers love about Walt Longmire: he's not going to quit, no matter what happens, no matter what it takes. If you're in trouble, he's going to come save your bacon. As Walt begins to dig into the case, he finds that Holman was looking into the disappearances of three women in Campbell County, and the trail leads to the tiny, rundown town of Arrosa. What's been going on in Arrosa and in Campbell County is a dark tale, but Walt is the stuff of legend in Wyoming as one of the Campbell County deputies tells us: "As soon as a cop gets killed in this state, all the old-timers say we need to bring in Walt Longmire."
However, this book isn't all about the case. During the investigation, readers are treated to a few facts about Wyoming and other subjects-- and pay attention, folks. These tidbits aren't just thrown in for your education, they're going to mean something further on down the line. That's one of the beauties of Craig Johnson's writing. It all seems so effortless and flows so smoothly that it's only after you finish reading the book that you can pick apart the pieces and see how closely Johnson fits them all together.
As always, Walt's self-deprecating humor plays a role in the story, and his support team of Vic Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, Lucian Connally, Virgil White Buffalo, and Dog all add their parts. Johnson's the type of writer who can write action so tense your hair can stand on end, then within seconds you'll either be laughing your head off or having a tear run down your cheek. His books get a hold of you and won't turn you loose until you've turned that last page, so if you're new to the books, consider yourself warned.
If the television series is all you know about Sheriff Walt Longmire, and you're wondering if you should bother reading the books, let me tell you something: you're in for a treat. The producers of the television series have purposely not made the episodes clones of the books. This way readers who have been passionate fans of Johnson since book one (The Cold Dish) can enjoy the television series... and fans of Longmire can enjoy the books. You can jump into the series anywhere, but I wouldn't recommend it. Start with the first one. Chances are good that the second you've finished that book, you'll be gobbling up all the rest--- and Any Other Name with its humor, tenderness, two blood-curdling chase scenes, and ominous forebodings for the future is probably the best of them all.
Meanwhile, Walt is fielding phone calls from his very pregnant daughter in Philadelphia, demanding that he be there for the delivery of his first grandchild. Personally, I had a hard time relating to someone so determined to have her father in the delivery room. Certainly, if my father was in the business of saving lives, I wouldn't want him to walk away from that to sit around the hospital while I was having a baby. Cady's attitude seemed more than a tad self-centered for someone raised by the selfless Walt Longmire.
That quibble aside, I loved this book. I loved the interplay between Walt and the old sheriff, Walt and Vic, and especially Walt and Henry Standing Bear. There were some interesting "guest" characters to keep things lively -- and a touch of the other-worldly, too. Trains were a significant part of this novel. I love trains, so the railroad components of the story really caught my attention. The weather was a factor, too. The story provided plenty of suspense in the closing chapters, as Walt battled to keep himself and others from being killed.
George Guidall's narration on the audio was spot-on, as usual. Boy, howdy!
While all isn't as it appears there are a lot of layers to this story and it has a fairly dark theme throughout, yet there are some roll-on-the-floor moments. Many of the regular characters are there, Walt, Lucian, Vic, Henry and Dog all play a part.
To me this series just keeping better and better and I hate to have to wait a year for another novel.
While still being very enjoyable this one was harder to follow that the previous two. As is
Author - Craig Johnson
Sheriff Walt Longmire's old boss Lucian Connally asks Walt to look into the suicide of a Detective in Campbell County. Lucian has a relationship with the family and the death of the Detective just doesn't ring true. Only problem is the case is
First is it took two shots to kill himself. Next is the last cases Holman was working. Girls gone missing. And too many unanswered questions for Walt to ignore.
"..I want to warn you that if you put Walter on this you're going to find out what it's all about, one way or the other." Another pause, and I could imagine the face that was peering down at her, a visage to which I was accustomed. "You're sure you want that? Because he's like a gun; once you point him and pull the trigger, it's too late to change your mind..."
With the help of Under-Sheriff Vic Moretti and friend Henry Standing Bear, Walt is set to unravel the mystery of the dead Detective and the slew of missing girls. And somehow be there for the birth of his first grandchild.
Most series will lose steam after the fifth book or so. But Craig Johnson has maintained momentum with the Walt Longmire books and the 10th novel in the series is as crisp and well written as the first one. The characters have evolved but in essence stayed incredibly true to themselves.
I will admit being a fan of the TV show and was introduced to the characters through the show but the books are incredibly well written and stand on their own. The relationship between Vic and Walt is far more complicated in the novels and Henry Standing Bear much more imposing and zen like.
If you have not read any of the novels, you are cheating yourself. They are well written, plotted, and character driven mysteries that are in fact, true mysteries and not just some worn out plot line just there to give the characters something to talk about.
Another good read from Craig Johnson.
It seems that an old friend of Lucien’s, a competent detective of many years experience, has killed himself. At least that’s what authorities in the county are saying happened. Lucien, however, is not buying it because suicide is completely out of character for Detective Gerald Holman, so he asks Walt to see what he can find out about Holman’s last investigation. After a quick visit along with Lucien to Holman’s widow, Walt agrees to look into the man’s death despite Lucien’s warning to the widow that “if she didn’t want the answers, she better not have you (Walt) ask the questions.”
Walt soon learns that the detective had been investigating a cold case concerning the disappearance of three women from the county within just a few months. There is nothing to connect the three women or their disappearance, but when both the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department and the dead detective’s daughter pressure him to drop his investigation, Walt is determined to find out why that is. And, as Lucien warned the detective’s widow, if you don’t want to know the truth don’t let Sheriff Walt Longmire start asking questions.
Bottom Line: Probably because this is the fourth Longmire mystery I’ve read in the last few months (and that I’ve now read 14 of the 16 novels in the series), Craig Johnson’s structural pattern is becoming a little bit too predictable to me. I’ve lost count of how many of the books see Longmire in eminent danger of dying from exposure to the elements of a harsh Wyoming winter before he has a vision that gives him the advice and courage he needs to persevere in his chase of the bad guys. This time around, the weather does not quite so eminently threaten Longmire’s life, but his almost bleeding to death leads to the same result. (The visions and conversations with ghosts are something that Walt Longmire shares with James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux.) Any Other Name follows the well-tested Longmire-formula a little too closely for it to ever become one of my favorite Longmire mysteries, but if you are a fan of the series (like I obviously am), don’t miss this chapter in the Longmire story.
This one was harder for me to buy into than most of the other books in the series. Walt was out of his jurisdiction, and he wasn't there at the invitation of local law enforcement. He inserted himself into their cases. There were several points where he could have turned over his leads to the local sheriff and headed to Philadelphia, where his only daughter was just about to give birth to his first grandchild and was begging him to come. He claimed it was his duty to find the missing women, but it seemed more like arrogance, or maybe stubbornness. Did I mention that he was out of his jurisdiction? This one stretches credibility a little too much for my taste.