Murder in the Afternoon Book Club to Discuss: ANOTHER MAN’S MOCCASINS by Craig Johnson

The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club meets to discuss Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson on Monday, August 21st, at 1 PM on BookPeople’s third floor. You can find copies of Another Man’s Moccasins on our shelves or via bookpeople.com. 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery 

9780143115526On August 21st, we continue our annual tradition of reading the next novel in Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series. Another Man’s Moccasins is the fourth book in the series and my personal favorite. Unlike previous volumes in the series, Another Man’s Moccasins takes a deeper look into aspects of the Wyoming sheriff’s past that still haunt him.

The book is actually two mysteries, linked by a mysterious woman from Walt’s past. Walt and his deputies get a call alerting them to a body dump – a Vietnamese woman has been found murdered. On her person, they find a photo of Walt’s younger self playing piano in a Saigon bar. To solve his latest murder, Walt must look back to his first murder case as a CID officer.

With its explorations of Walt’s experiences in Vietnam and the past’s relationship with the present, Another Man’s Moccasins gives us much to discuss. We’ll be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Monday, August 21st, at 1PM. The books are 10% off to those who attend.

Letters to Santa: Hugo Marston & Walt Longmire

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This year the MysteryPeople staff decided to have some fun with letters to Santa from some of our favorite crime fiction characters. We decided to wind up the blog series with letters from two authors – Craig Johnson, creator of Sheriff Walt Longmire, and Mark Pryor, who gave us US Embassy Director Of Security Hugo Marston. Each sent along a list of the perfect gifts for their heroes. 

Hugo Marston, Director of Security for the US Embassy in Paris, would like to receive this holiday season:

  • A signed, first edition, Sherlock Holmes book.
  • A new pair of Tomy Lama boots.
  • A two-week vacation. For (from?!) Tom.
  • A bottle of Chateau Pichon Lalande, to share with Claudia. Maybe a case, they’re in it for the long haul.
  • A coffee maker that requires no coffee making ability whatsoever.
  • A subscription to The Economist. (To be shared with Emma, his secretary.)
  • News that the new President-elect will be retaining the services of Hugo’s boss, Ambassador J. Bradford Taylor.

You can find Mark Pryor’s Hugo Marston series on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

Sheriff Walt Longmire doesn’t have many needs, but he would appreciate the following items:

  • Rainier Beer Jubilee Half-Quart cans
  • Plutarch’s Lives, eight volume leather-bound set, J&R Tonson &S. Draper, London 1749
  • 20 Rounds 230 grain JHP .45 ACP ammo
  • A gift certificate for “The Usual”, Busy Bee Café
  • And, Ham, any variety (for Dog)

You can find Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

If you like Longmire…

We are getting ready for our favorite sheriff to come to town. Craig Johnson will be here at BookPeople on Tuesday, September 13th at 7 PM to sign and discuss An Obvious Fact, his latest novel to feature Sheriff Walt Longmire, our Pick Of the Month for September. Craig’s visit just so happens to coincide with the book’s release date, so be one of the first to get a copy and one of the first to get it signed! You can find more information about the event and pre-order signed, personalized copies here. If you can’t get enough Longmire, and you’d like to hang out with similar lawmen, we though of these fine gentlemen.


Gabriel Du Pré (creator Peter Bowen)9781497676589

This Montana cattle inspector (or “cow ass inspector” as he refers to his profession) is not only a good investigator, but a champion fiddle player as well. His Métis French-Indian background gives him a unique perspective on Montana culture.

First appearance: Bitter Creek by Peter Bowen


Manny Tanno (creator C.M. Wendelboe)9780425240021

An FBI agent sent back to the place he couldn’t wait to leave, South Dakota’s Lakota Reservation. Along with murder, he has to deal with his old high school rival, now the tribal police chief; his brother, a native rights activist and sometimes suspect; and his old flame. A very human and often humorous look at life on the rez.

First appearance: Death Along the Spirit Road by C. M. Wendelboe


9780393350784Officer Henry Farrell (creator Tom Bouman)

Another fiddle playing lawman, this time in rural Pennsylvania. His jurisdiction and authority can sometimes be questionable, but the violence brought into his town by the meth trade isn’t. Picture a younger Walt Longmire dropped into Daniel Woodrell’s world.

Only appearance (so far): Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

500,000 Bikers and one Sheriff: MysteryPeople Q&A with Craig Johnson

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Our Pick Of The Month is Crag Johnson’s latest, An Obvious Fact, one of the best to date in his sheriff Walt Longmire series. The Wyoming sheriff, his Cheyenne buddy, and his foul mouthed deputy (and sometimes love interest) from Philly have to solve a mystery during The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in a small town with connections to a woman from Henry’s past.

Craig will be with us on Tuesday, September 13th, at 7 PM, the same day as the book’s release, so come by BookPeople for a chance to be one of the first to get a signed copy! To get everyone excited for Craig’s visit, we got in a few questions in early to one of our favorite authors.

MysteryPeople Scott: I saw this book as your acoustic set, stripping the series down to its three main characters and solving the mystery with little of the drama that has been building in the series. Was this an intentional shift?

Craig Johnson: Well, I try and do something different with each book and I think the stripping down was a result of that, but the drama in the characters lives is always going to be subjugated by the action and pace of the plot. Strangely enough, this may be the funniest and best- paced novel I’ve written–I wish I knew why.

MPS: There is a lot of focus on Walt and Henry’s friendship. What do they provide each other, aside from back up?

CJ: It’s the backbone of the series ever since The Cold Dish when I had to have two individuals who represented their different cultures. I think the bond and most important the easy banter between the two characters is what I enjoy the most. This was a departure in the sense that we learn a little more about Henry’s personal past and that provides a few conflicts between the two men, but even with all the hurdles they face, there’s a camaraderie and a true friendship that never fails.

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MysteryPeople Pick of the Month: AN OBVIOUS FACT by Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson comes to BookPeople to speak and sign his new Longmire mystery, An Obvious Fact, on Tuesday, September 13th, at 7 PMAn Obvious Fact comes out the same day as the event, so come on by for a chance to be one of the first to get the book signed. Click here to pre-order a copy! Can’t make it to the event? We’ll get it signed for you – just let us know!

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780525426943At times we can take a fine series for granted to the point of detriment. We continue to read the adventures of our favorite character with great enjoyment, but less appreciation. However, when the series is written by an author who knows what he or she is doing, we get a title that reminds us why we got hooked on our hero in the first place. Such is the case with An Obvious Fact, the twelfth book featuring Craig Johnson’s Sheriff Walt Longmire.

The book is the literary version of an acoustic set, stripping the series down to his three essential characters. Walt and and his Cheyenne buddy Henry Standing Bear go up to Hullett, a town near Devil’s Tower hosting a motorcycle climb, in which Henry is participating. The climb has been organized as part of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, bringing 50,000 bikers to a town of 400. The book captures the feeling of purgatory these towns assume to non-bikers during the rally. The two are asked to help out an investigation of a young biker gang member who may have been run off the road and put into a coma. Before long, we learn that he is the son of Lola, an old flame Henry named his famous Thunderbird after. With help from Walt’s under-sheriff, Victoria “Vic” Moretti, they find themselves in a mystery involving motorcycle gangs, illegal weapons, and star crossed lovers.

Taking Walt, Henry, and Vic outside Absoroka County and dropping them in the middle of another jurisdiction breathes fresh life into these characters. They are able to get away from the events that have been building up around them since the novel Serpent’s Tooth and focus on the crime at hand, with little interference of trouble in the past and future. The mystery reveals much about Henry and, in turn, his friendship with Walt. There is a great passage between the two as they argue why each takes crazy risks. The focus on the here and now allows Johnson a faster face and more of his trademark humor than in the previous couple of novels.

There is also time for Johnson to reflect on the mystery genre itself. The title comes from the Sherlock Holmes story “The Speckled Band”: “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” We get to hear several quotes from Arthur Conan Doyle’s sleuth, since Henry has brought along Les Klinger’s annotated collection, needling Walt at who the better detective is. There is an insightful monologue Walt has where he explains to Vic what kind of detective he is compared to Sherlock. Johnson uses the device of the Sherlock Holmes books to be self aware and entertaining in a way that does not take you out of the story.

By giving Walt, Henry, and Vic a mini-vacation, An Obvious Fact, does the same for readers of the series. I can can tell that Craig Johnson is building the next few books into an epic tale of moral dilemmas, putting our sheriff up against a foe like no other. I’m looking forward to that, yet I was happy he could find time for Walt to simply relax with his friend, lover, some bikers, a bunch of guns, and a few bodies.

An Obvious Fact comes out Tuesday, September 13th, just in time for Craig’s visit to BookPeople. Pre-order now!

Craig Johnson Calls in to the Murder in the Afternoon Book Club

9780143113133– Post by Scott M.

Our next Murder In The Afternoon book club, meeting this Monday at 1 PM on BookPeople’s 3rd floor, will have noted author Craig Johnson calling in to our discussion. We are reading the third book in his Walt Longmire series, Kindness Goes Unpunished. In the novel, Craig takes the Sheriff out of his Wyoming surroundings and drops him in the big city.

Walt and his best friend Henry Standing Bear drive to Philadelphia, partly to visit Walt’s daughter Cady. They find her hospitalized by her abusive fiancé. The morning after Walt threatens the man, he gets a visit from the police, letting Walt know the man was hung from the Ben Franklin bridge. To get off the suspect list, Walt must solve a mystery involving corruption, a white Indian, and a horse chase through Philly.

This is a rare chance to talk about all aspects of a book with an author, including the ending. Craig is an incredibly entertaining conversationalist, so it’s worth your time and trouble. Join us this upcoming Monday, August 15th, at 1 PM, on the third floor. The book is 10% off to those who attend.

You can find copies of Kindness Goes Unpunished on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Craig Johnson joins us to speak and sign his latest Longmire on Tuesday, September 13th. The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club meets the third Monday of each month at 1 PM on BookPeople’s third floor. For updates on all things Murder-In-The-Afternoon, join our new Facebook Page!

Three Picks for May

9780735220898The Highwayman by Craig Johnson

This novella featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire is as much ghost story as mystery. Walt and buddy Henry Standing Bear help out a Highway Patrolman who is receiving “officer needs assistance” calls from a trooper who died over thirty years ago. Johnson takes a unique riff on his entertaining series. The Highwayman comes out May 17th. Pre-order now!

9780399170850


Robert B. Parker’s Slow Burn by Ace Atkins

Boston private eye Spenser is back and up against an uncommon enemy. Looking into the fire of a church, he closes on a group of arsonists with a mysterious agenda. Once again, Atkins delivers everything you expect from Robert B Parker’s hero. You can find copies of Slow Burn on our shelves and  via bookpeople.com

9780802313607


St. Ernan’s Blues by Paul Charles

Irish Inspector Starrett and his colleagues must solve a murder with the most unusual suspects, priests in an Abbey where they have all been moved to for causing problems with The Church. A fun take on the classic whodunnit. You can meet Paul Charles with the authors who make up Miles Arceneux on May 11th. You can find copies of St. Ernan’s Blues on our shelves and via bookpeople.comFind out more about this event

MysteryPeople Q&A with Craig Johnson


This Thursday, May 21st, at 7 PM, our pal Craig Johnson is back in the store. His latest Walt Longmire novel, Dry Bones, has the Wyoming sheriff involved with a murder investigation that is right in the middle of a fight for the rights to a rare and sizable Tyrannosaurs Rex fossil. Longmire must also deal with an unexpected tragedy that strikes close to him. We caught up with Craig to ask a few questions (he mostly answered) about his book, his state, and the direction of the series.


MysteryPeople: Much of Dry Bones‘ plot revolves around the discovery of the most complete Tyrannosaurus fossil and who has the rights to it. In your research, what was the most surprising thing you learned about the dino-world?

Craig Johnson: That scientists are just as capable of heinous activity as the rest of humanity. You would think that by pursuing the high-minded tract of empirical data that they would be above the petty squabbles and backbiting that plague us mere mortals, but that’s not the case. In the historic battles between Cope and Marsh, two of the greatest paleontologists in American history, they salted each others’ sites with incorrect bones, wrote horrible articles about each other, and at one point one of them had the skull of the other on his desk. All of which makes the dinosaurs seem pretty civilized.

MP: The subject reinforced the idea of how history has been an important element in the series. How does history apply to Walt’s part of the country?

CJ: Well, there’s history and then there’s history… Less than 20% of native religious items and bodies have been repatriated to the tribes, which in this day and age is ridiculous. Wyoming is the outdoors. As your good buddy James Crumley once said, “The west is the out of doors, just go to Casper, Wyoming and look at the town. That’s not the West, but look out and away, that’s the West.” I think westerners are confronted by the natural world to a greater degree, and the history is all around us, whether it be teepee rings from a couple hundred years ago, or bones from sixty-five million.

MP: Dry Bones’ plot is comparatively “light’, compared to your last few novels, yet almost halfway into the story, a large personal situation occurs that throws a somber shadow over the book. What do you have to consider when dealing with different tones and moods in a novel?

CJ: Without giving too much away, it’s happening all around us just now. Police officers are being lured into situations and being killed. I’m afraid that the truth of the matter that when you buckle on that gun belt and pin that badge on in the morning you’re never sure if you’re going to be coming home that night. You can have the characters in crime fiction blithely move from novel to novel, but that really isn’t honest to the material. When tragedy strikes it’s almost always unexpected.

MP: I thought this was your best use of Dog in the series. Other than a sounding board for Walt, what else does he bring to the stories? 

CJ: He humanizes Walt and makes him a better person, just like all our pets do for all of us if we let them. There are 5,416 species of mammals on this planet and that’s just the mammals. I think realizing we’re a part of the natural world and not some dominant species that towers above it is a good thing for all of us. We’re part of a miraculous instance that we need to be aware of, if for no other reason than to be in awe of it.

MP: This is another Walt Longmire novel where the land is as dangerous as the murder suspects. What is the most precarious circumstance you have found yourself in with Wyoming nature?

CJ: When I complain to my wife that dinner appears to be late:)

Probably up on the mountain in the Cloud Peak Wilderness area. I climb Cloud Peak every other year in the Bighorn National Forest, sometimes by myself, and it’s humbling to be that far out and having to rely on only yourself with 1,731 square miles of wilderness surrounding you. Especially if the weather turns bad at thirteen thousand feet…

MP: Dry Bones feels like it’s setting up Walt for a some big changes and possible compromises of who he is. Can you tell us some of the things he will have to confront for the next ten books?

CJ: No. Sorry–you’ll have to keep reading.


Craig Johnson comes to BookPeople with his latest Longmire novel, Dry Bones, on Thursday, May 21st, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s second floor. Events are free and open to the public. In order to join the signing line, you must purchase a copy of Mr. Johnson’s latest. You can find copies of Dry Bones on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Can’t make it the event? Purchase a copy ahead of time online or over the phone and we’ll get it signed for you! 

MysteryPeople Review: DRY BONES (Longmire #11) by Craig Johnson

dry bones


Craig Johnson joins us to speak and sign his latest Longmire tale, Dry Bones, on Thursday, May 21st, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s second floor. All MysteryPeople events are free and open to the public. You can find copies of Dry Bones on our shelves or via bookpeople.com.


Dry Bones, Craig Johnson’s eleventh novel featuring Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire, shows off the author’s gift for handling differing tones and textures at once. He sets the reader up for a tale lighter in tone then his three or four previous novels, with a satirical backdrop framing the narrative. The story delivers its fair share of noir unease, however – Johnson drops a bomb that scatters somber shrapnel all around.

In the beginning he subtly and with humor foreshadows what’s to come, giving us a spoken police-style report on a murder victim that would make Joe Friday proud. The victim is Jen, a Tyrannosaurus Rex who left behind the largest intact fossil of her species in Absaroka County. When Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher Jen’s “body” is on, dies in an odd drowning, a legal war erupts between state, local, and tribal governments, not counting the family. With all the big money involved, Walt’s suspicion of murder grows. While looking into Lone Elk’s death, he has to prepare for a visit from his daughter and granddaughter and deal with the dino-politics that has the Absaroka citizenry greeting him with raised fists, declaring “Save Jen.”

For the first third of the book, we’re given a humorous mystery in the vein of Junkyard Dogs, then Walt gets a call. On the other end of the line is tragic news. it has little effect on Dry Bones’ plot, but will pull the series in a new direction. Johnson deftly weaves this personal element into the plot.

Much like someone in Walt’s place, we are in shock, then the book gradually moves back to its initial feel as he continues to work the case while dealing with the fall out from the news. Johnson doesn’t as much shift tone as have one bleed into the other. The humor that still occurs often has more resonance, becoming a refuge for both Walt and us. Johnson also begins to slowly build the seriousness of the crime as well, to reflect Walt’s emotions. He’s even able to end the novel with a light moment.

Dry Bones shows Craig Johnson’s ability to spin several story plates at once. The humor of his characters always comes through believably even in worst of situations. It gives hope those bad times will pass and hope in humanity itself.


Craig Johnson joins us to speak and sign his latest Longmire tale, Dry Bones, on Thursday, May 21st, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s second floor. All MysteryPeople events are free and open to the public. You must purchase a copy of the book to enter the signing line. Can’t make it to the event? Pre-order a signed copy!

Ten Years of Walt Longmire

 

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Craig Johnson’s The Cold Dish being published. For the last ten years (little over three years in his fictional lifespan with each book representing a season in his life), Walt Longmire, Wyoming sheriff, has appeared in ten books, two novellas, and inspired a television show that even the stupidity of programming executives couldn’t kill. It is interesting that such a traditional, even old fashioned, character becomes one of the more popular heroes for the beginning of the new millennium.

The tension between old and new is what creates much of the drama in the series. Walt may be an old fashioned lawman but many of the crimes, like human trafficking, are not. Those wide open Wyoming spaces have allowed outlaws to practice with little interference until Walt catches wind. When hunting down killers and criminals, very few of his techniques are modern. No CSI, no SWAT, not even a cell phone. Just doggedness and a knowledge of his place, especially its people.

Community is what defines Walt Longmire as a hero. Few authors have dealt with the relationship between a lawman and the society he serves like Craig Johnson has, particularly in the first five books. These five cover an election Walt is running in, yet wondering if he still wants. It helps to set up the political nature of his job. His main skill is knowing who to call upon for assistance. We see it completely at work in Kindness Goes Unpunished, where he is stuck in Philadelphia and has to build a group of allies from the ground up.

The idea of an old school hero also plays into the tension of how Walt taps into the best of western tradition to correct its sins. The fifth book, The Dark Horse, was initially titled “Horses And Women”, a fragment of the western saying “This land is paradise for men and dogs, hell for horses and women.”In it Walt goes to another Wyoming town to help clear a woman charged with murdering her husband. The town seems convinced of her guilt not only because of the frame up, but because she is a woman who stands out.

The responsibility of the present to make up for the past is often seen in Walt’s dealing with American Indians. Walt’s relationship with the American Indian past and present is closely examined with his friendship with chief (no pun intended) ally, Henry Standing Bear. Oddly enough, it is also the source of much of the humor the books’ humor. Walt is both buffer and bridge between his jurisdiction of Absoroka County and the Cheyenne reservation. It’s perfectly fitting that when he’s alone, in desperate straits, a vision of an Indian often helps him. The vision may also be telling him, he’s also more spiritually aware than he realizes.

Craig Johnson has created a man of cohesive paradoxes that we’ve watched play out and with one another. He’s a reclusive man who is saved by his community as much as he has saved it. It is something deals with more as each turn of the earth brings in a new season in his life. Most of all he embodies the the need of his community and its institutions to be strong for individuality to survive and thrive. Here’s to many more years of Walt being able to protect and serve.


You can find all the volumes of Craig Johnson’s Longmire Series on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.