Sunday, November 29, 2020

Any Other Name - Craig Johnson

Any Other Name (2014) is the tenth novel in Craig Johnson’s hugely popular “Longmire Mystery” series. As this one begins, Sheriff Walt Longmire is feeling the ticking of the clock in a big way because his daughter is about to deliver his first grandchild in a Philadelphia hospital — and he is supposed to be there when that happens. But instead of heading in that direction, Walt finds himself taking on a “mercy case” in a neighboring Wyoming county on behalf of his old boss, Lucien Connally. And, as any longtime fan of the Longmire series well knows, once Walt Longmire begins an investigation, he finishes that investigation no matter what.


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. 


Craig Johnson

3 comments:

  1. I think I mentioned in one of my reviews once that I wished Johnson would stop sending Walt out into a blizzard to try to freeze him to death. Maybe that's why he sent the sheriff down to my neck of the woods not so long ago.

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    1. Glad to see I wasn't imagining the number of times Walt has almost experienced death-by-blizzard, Cathy. You would think he would be a quicker learner than that, wouldn't you.

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