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Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas in Absaroka County: Walt Longmire Christmas Stories By Craig Johnson

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Cynthia Chow

Check out details on how to purchase this collection of short stories at the end of the review.

Here in Hawaii we know it’s Christmas when Macy’s breaks out the Christmas tree displays and fake snow appears in the windows of stores at the shopping malls. Otherwise, it’s still eighty degrees out, sunny, but with morning isolated showers. So to get that vicarious (and possibly overrated) snowed-in feeling I look to the mysteries written by Craig Johnson, which take place in Absaroka County, the smallest of the twenty-four counties of Wyoming and where the isolation and freezing weather are as vital to the stories as the people themselves.

Just in time to snuggle in for the holidays is the release of a new e-book collection of four short stories that feature the irascible but always endearing Sheriff Walt Longmire. The A&E television series Longmire, an adaptation of Johnson's Walt Longmire mysteries, has exposed more of the public to this delightful character and thankfully the books continue to display the high quality of writing and endearing characters that have earned the author numerous awards for writing in both mystery and western categories.

Image source: Penguin

In "Ministerial Aid" Walt finds himself in the absolutely hilarious and complete absurd position of posing as the Almighty in a bathrobe when he is called to a domestic abuse scene by a confused elderly woman awaiting the second coming. I'm not sure how successful his administrations are, but the imagery Johnson paints with his descriptions of Walt is a treat. "Slick-Tongued Devil", perhaps the most moving of the stories, has Walt confronting the obituary of his wife along with a visitor whose fate depends on the lingering influence of Walt’s beloved spouse.

In "Toys for Tots," Walt is reluctantly dragged by his daughter into doing some last minute Christmas shopping despite his best attempts to be a Grinch. When he encounters another war veteran soliciting for the Salvation Army patriotism, as well as their shared obligation of honor and duty, has Walt granting the man a very unorthodox, but ultimately heartwarming, early Christmas gift.

“Unbalanced” has Walt picking up a hitch-hiking, armed escapee from a psychiatric hospital with the results being completely unpredictable but entirely encompassing the Christmas Spirit Walt claims to disdain.

This very short story collection encompasses everything readers have grown to love about the Walt Longmire series. His sense of justice, the wryness and dry wit of the writing, and the powerfully written characters shine through these brief glimpses of Walt Longmire’s life. This is the perfect Christmas treat that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

You can purchase this collection using this link for only $3.99-a Penguin Special. If you use this purchase link a portion goes to help support KRL as well.

The Longmire TV show returns in 2013. Check out KRL's review of this show.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

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