ANOTHER MAN’S MOCCASINS by Craig Johnson

This is the fourth book in the Walt Longmire series, which is kind of a tribute to the nostalgic cowboy mythology of the old west.  Great series.

When the body of a young Vietnamese woman is found alongside the interstate in Absaroka County, Wyoming, Sheriff Walt Longmire is determined to discover the identity of the victim and is forced to confront the horrible similarities of this murder to that of his first homicide investigation as a marine in Vietnam.

To complicate matters, Virgil White Buffalo, a homeless Crow Indian, is found living in a nearby culvert and in possession of the young woman’s purse. There are only two problems with what appears to be an open-and-shut case. One, the sheriff doesn’t think Virgil White Buffalo–a Vietnam vet with a troubling past–is a murderer. And two, the photo that is found in the woman’s purse looks hauntingly familiar to Walt.

The story is told in flashbacks, a technique I often find tedious, and yes, I found it a bit tediou in this book, too, but I forgive a lot in this Longmire series, because you do when you love someone, right?  Even the astounding coinkydink concerning the dead Vietnamese woman and Longmire.  But I have a forgiving nature.  It’s how I roll.

Moving right along to the next in the series, The Dark Horse.

 

 

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THE COLD DISH by Craig Johnson

After having read two of the Walt Longmire series way out of order, I decided to get myself a list of the books  and read them in order.  As with all good detective/police procedural series, the protagonists develop and grow, and although each is a stand along mystery, the lives of the principle characters continue as a life does.   So, the first one in the series is The Cold Dish,  named after that old proverb, ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’.  We meet Walt, Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, and learn of his adult daughter Cady, a legal eagle practicing law in Philadelphia, and meet Vic, his tough deputy, a gal with a whole family on the police force in Philadelphia, who is smart, gutsy and has a mouth like a stevedore.

The blurb tells us that the story is about Cody Pritchard, a young man found dead. Two years earlier, Cody and three accomplices had been given suspended sentences for raping a Northern Cheyenne girl. Is someone seeking vengeance? Longmire faces one of the more volatile and challenging cases in his twenty-four years as sheriff and means to see that revenge, a dish that is best served cold, is never served at all.

So four young men brutally gang rape a young woman who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome.  She does not testify against them, because she doesn’t want to hurt their feelings.  Then one of them is found shot.  And then another of the four.  Things get complicated, but the likable sheriff with the help of his lifelong bff, A Cheyenne native, work together to discover just who seems to be stalking those young men.

I really like Craig Johnson’s writing style.  Clear, with a touch of humor, he creates a decent guy as the protagonist, one we can all like.

SURVIVING MICHAEL by Joseph Birchall

An interesting, if not compelling, story of four young boys, who at the end of their school days, have a game of dares, at a cliff’s edge.  Michael was reluctant to jump into the waters, and so one of the others gave him a helpful push.  Michael did not survive the jump, and the three remaining are left to deal with this in their lives.

We readers get to follow their lives, told in alternating voices of the three, until 15 years later, when they have their annual get-together on the date of Michael’s death, although that death and Michael are never mentioned.

It is interesting to see the path of each of their lives, without our caring overmuch about any of them.

Nice twist at the end, although it was telegraphed rather heavy-handedly, so the astute reader could see it coming.

One reviewer called it ‘unput downable’.  Yeah, well, I put it down several times.  Wasn’t sure I really wanted to pick it back up again.

BOOKED TO DIE by John Dunning

This is a re-issue of the author’s first book, published in 1992,  a murder mystery, police procedural, and mighty fine, folks.  Mighty fine.  It won the Nero Award, and the Dilys Award.  I know, I don’t know what they are either, but then, it’s hard keeping up with all the various awards.

Our hero, Cliff Janeway (nifty name, no?),  is a homicide detective, has had trouble nailing the prosperous low life who is responsible for a number of murders in the city,  finally loses it, catches the guy, takes him out to some remote area and mano a mano, they fight it out, and he beats the kabooble out of the guy.  The guy is found, still alive, and claims that Cliff had handcuffed him and beat him with a weapon.  Cliff is under investigation, and decides to quit the force.

But you know what?  This book is all about book selling.  Yeah, how cool is that.  It is all about the acquiring of valuable used books, and you might be surprised to know, as was I,  that it isn’t just the really old books that are valuable.   A lot of current or recent best sellers are, also, if they are pristine first editions, and/or have been signed by the author, etc., and there is an ongoing competition probably in every city,  by bookmen who scour the thrift shops, and Goodwill, estate sales, yard sales, etc. looking for that overlooked big money book they can pick up for pennies.   And, if this book is to be believed, they can be killed for their valuable collections.

So our boy Cliff opens a used book store starting off with his own personal collection, and before he is even open, a young gal comes in looking for a job and talks him into hiring her.  She turns out to be a fast learner and a real asset.

Meanwhile, there is a damsel in distress, (distressed by that nasty a$$ whom Cliff beat up), and he is caught up in that issue, plus right before he quit the force, a raggedly ol bookman, who spent his days looking for the said overlooked treasure with which to make his fortune, is found dead in an alley.  Why would anybody kill him?  He had nothing, was nothing, and would seem to be harmless.  So although now no longer on the force, Cliff continues to investigate the old guy’s murder.

Really good mystery, good characters, and some more dead bodies.  What’s a decent murder mystery without a few murders, right?  There are five in this series, and he has a number of other books, as well.

 

HEAR YE, HEAR YE, STEP RIGHT UP

undrumLooks like I’ve done it again — got myself involved in three really really long books. So I was thinking, how about to while away the time until I actually finish one of these twenty-pounders, , it might be fun to learn what some of my blog readers are reading.

So if any of you would like to write a guest post, thereby propelling you instantly into fame and immortality, I would post it so we would all have something to read in the interim.

Here’s what I am looking for: a post about EITHER your favorite book (and why), or the book you hate the most (and why). Only one thing you can’t do: if you are an author, you cannot shill your own book. (Get a friend of yours to do that for you in the guise of a MY FAVORITE BOOK post). But other than that one rule, anything goes as long as it is coherent, I can understand it, and it doesn’t use too many foreign words. I have enough trouble with foreign words, being as I live in a country that uses ALL foreign words.

And of course, if you have a blog, or a website, you can include the addy for it.

You can submit them to Mzmarti@frog.cc. Try to remember to put Blog Submission or some such in the subject line so that I don’t think you are some wanker trying to sell me penile erection accessories.

And because detours are my middle name, did you know that “wile away the time” is equally correct, because it means to beguile, lure or entice, so a good case can be made for its acceptable use. It is usually considered as an ‘alternative’ in dictionaries.

I could while away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain.

MUSIC OF SACRED LAKES by Laura K. Cowan

$RSVOO6RA sweet, gentle story of being lost, and finding what is lost.

Our protagonist, the younger son of a farmer in Michigan, near the shore of Lake Michigan, hates the farm, and isn’t all that crazy about his stern, father, who expects him to work hard on the farm and eventually take it over.  He leaves the farm and gets a job driving a trash truck.

One day, due to his carelessness, he drives the trash truck and another car off the road over a cliff.  His best friend in the truck with him is not badly injured, but he himself suffers a badly broken leg.  An eight year old girl in the car was drowned in the car when it went into the lake.

It is about the native Odawa people of the area, and about nature.  It has been called magic realism, and a ghost story.  Eh.  Maybe. Maybe not so much.  He hears a voice, the voice of the girl, telling him that it is all lake.  He must learn what that means.

It involves a visit to a Native American medicine man, or shaman, who tells him he must spend some time alone at the lake to find redemption.

It is a difficult story to tell, one of a rejection of his parent’s lifestyle, one of unforgiveness of himself for the death of the little girl, one of grieving.

For me, with such a deep subject matter, I felt it wrapped up too quickly and too easily. You know, everything will be all right for those who mean well and have a good heart.  Well, OK.  Sometimes.