The Flying Z by Leo W. Banks. Hmmm. By the cover, it’s a Western. Let’s see. Desolate landscape. Remote ranch. Tough cowboy. Doddering old uncle. Beautiful young woman. Truck? Drug traffickers? A Mustang...by Ford?
When the man wakes up, he doesn’t know his name, where he is, or how he got there. A sign above an Industrial Indian Boarding School informs him that he is in Fort Pratt, but it’s a strangely familiar café waitress who tells him that he is in Montana. A band in the hat he’s wearing seems to indicate that it’s a gift to one Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming, while the familiar-feeling gun in his holster is one issued to lawmen.
As an academician, Robert B. Parker could have written literary fiction, criticism, or the great American novel, but lucky for us, he found a niche in crime fiction. His Spenser reinforced the admirable notion that adherence to a moral compass and accountability for one’s actions are essential to living a good life. That principle translated seamlessly when he wrote not only the Spenser novels but also his three other deeply satisfying crime series. What made Spenser such a pleasure to read holds true with his books featuring Sunny Randall, Jesse Stone, Virgil Cole, and Everett Hitch.
For over a year, Absaroka Sheriff Walt Longmire has been battling the ruthless drug lord and Mexican cartel leader Tomas Bidarte. Not only did he hire assassins to kill Walt, Bidarte is responsible for a countless number of deaths that includes that of Walt’s son-in-law. Their skirmishes become outright war when Bidarte kidnaps Walt’s attorney daughter, forcing the normally lackadaisical lawman on an unwavering mission to rescue Cady.
Back in 1972, Walt Longmire was not the wry, easy-going sheriff readers love today. Just two weeks of working under Absaroka County Sheriff Lucian Connelly had Walt questioning his choice of career, despite the pressure of having to support a new wife and upcoming baby. In his first year as president of the Wyoming Sheriff’s Association, Lucian was dragging along his rookie deputy for a sheriff’s junket on the Western Star steam train to Evanston.
Friday is said to be an unlucky day, Kyame Piddington read. It is hangman’s day. Some star having special gravity struck with sporadic force yesterday and illuminated some of the social phases in the zodiac of Dodge City. There was a gambling sport who was chaired by a pugilistic concubine.
Rock skipping and fly-fishing. Only in Absaroka County, Wyoming, does that mean skipping rocks to chase turtles away from a body and using a fish-hook to reel it in. Danny Lone Elk has unfortunately met his demise in his favorite fishing spot, nibbled on by the very creatures he championed. Even more inconvenient for Sheriff Walt Longmire is the discovery on Danny Lone Elk’s land of “Jen,” possibly the world’s most important–and valuable–fossilized skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Paleontologists, museums, the U.S. government, Danny Lone Elk’s family, and the Cheyenne Conservatory all contest ownership of the eight-million-dollar prize, but the one with the last word is, inconveniently, the late Danny Lone Elk.
Over ten years ago Craig Johnson started to give short stories as thank you presents for his newsletter subscribers. Released every Christmas Eve, his fans began to anxiously await the annual treats. Finally there is a collection of these delightful peeks into the life of Absaroka County, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire. Petunia, Bandit Queen of The Bighorns is the one completely original new story but all will be delightful reminders of Johnson's past gifts to his readers.
Deputy Latimore stepped out from the rest of the posse as Marshal Ben Clagget reined in his horse. “Marshal,” Latimore said, “those stage robbers were hiding out here by the creek just like you thought. The boys and I had ‘em surrounded before they could make a run. Got all three of ‘em hand-tied and ready for the ride back.”
At any other time, Absaroka County, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire would have been on the first flight to Philadelphia to be at his daughter's side as she gives birth to his first grandchild. Instead, Walt's loyalty has him accompanying his old mentor and former boss Lucien Connally to Campbell County on of a plea to investigate the suicide of another detective. Gerald Holman's widow insists that he was not suicidal, and her years of experience as a court reporter allow her to recognize when the investigating detectives are telling lies.