As the Crow Flies
A Walt Longmire Mystery
Walt gets shanghaied into a murder investigation on the Reservation in this New York Times bestseller from the author of The Cold Dish and Hell Is Empty, the most recent novel in the Walt Longmire Mystery Series, the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit A&E original drama series
Fans of Robert B. Parker will love this eighth adventure in the New York Times bestselling and award-winning Walt Longmire mystery series. Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire has a more important matter on his mind than cowboys and criminals. His daughter, Cady, is getting married to the brother of his undersheriff, Victoria Moretti. Walt and old friend Henry Standing Bear are the de facto wedding planners and fear Cady’s wrath when the wedding locale arrangements go up in smoke two weeks before the big event.
The pair set out to find a new site for the nuptials on the Cheyenne Reservation, but their scouting expedition ends in horror as they witness a young Crow woman plummeting from Painted Warrior’s majestic cliffs. It’s not Walt’s turf, but the newly appointed tribal police chief and Iraqi war veteran, the beautiful Lolo Long, shanghais him into helping with the investigation. Walt is stretched thin as he mentors Lolo, attempts to catch the bad guys, and performs the role of father of the bride.
As my good friend Henry Standing Bear says, on the Rez, even the roads are red.
I was trying to pay attention, but I kept being distracted by the crows plying the thermals of the high plains sky; it was raining in the distance, but the sun appeared to be overtaking the clouds—a sharp contrast of blue and charcoal that my mother used to say was caused by the devil beating his wife.
“She must’ve stolen the cash register.”
My attention was forced back inside and under cover, and I twisted the ring on my pinkie. My wife, Martha, had given it back to me before she died so that I could give it to Cady whenever she got married.
I looked up—the negotiations weren’t going well. It would appear that Dull Knife College had suddenly scheduled a Cheyenne language immersion class at Crazy Head Springs on the day of the wedding. We had reserved the spot well in advance, but the vagaries of the tribal council were well known and now we were floundering. The old Indian across from me nodded his head in all seriousness. I was negotiating with the chief of the Northern Cheyenne nation, and he was one tough customer.
“That librarian over at the college is mean. I don’t like to mess with her; she’s got that Indian Alzheimer’s. Um hmm, yes, it is so.”
I trailed my eyes from Lonnie Little Bird to the rain-slick surface of the asphalt—Lame Deer’s main street being washed clean of all our sins. “What’s that mean, Lonnie?”
“That’s where you forget everything but the grudges.”
I smiled in spite of myself and took a deep breath, slowly letting the air out to calm my nerves, as I continued to twirl the ring on my finger. “Cady’s really got her heart set on Crazy Head
Springs, Lonnie, and it’s way too late to change the date from the end of July.”
He glanced out the window, his dark eyes following my gray ones. “Maybe you should go talk to that librarian over at the college. You’re a large man—she’ll listen to you. You could show her your gun.” He glanced down at the red and black chief’s blanket that covered his wheelchair. “She don’t pay no attention to an old, legless Indian.”
Henry Standing Bear, my daughter’s wedding planner, who had made the arrangements that were now being rapidly unraveled, sipped his coffee and quietly listened.
“But you’re the chief, Lonnie.”
“Oh, you know that don’t mean much unless somebody wants a government contract for beef or needs a ribbon cut.”
Up until this year, Lonnie’s official contribution to the tribal government had been limited to falling asleep in council. A month ago, when the previous tribal leader had been found guilty of siphoning off money to a private account belonging to his daughter, an emergency meeting had been held; since Lonnie had again fallen asleep, and therefore was unable to defend himself, he was unanimously voted in as the new chief.
“She’s in charge of all the books over there and she’s full blood—that’s pretty much the worst of both worlds.”
“Walt continues to be excellent company because he’s always keen to learn something from the strong Indian characters in this series…This time a wizened old medicine woman takes Walt in hand, guiding him through a Native American Church peyote ceremony deep in the woods…he [has] a vision that expands his mind and helps him solve the case.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“The pleasure of the series rests in Walt’s narration, with its laid-back, observant, bemused recounting of events…Solid landscapes, a mélange of fully fleshed characters (familiar and new), drily laconic dialogue and assorted power struggles—including Walt’s endless war with Rezdawg, Henry’s recalcitrant, falling-apart truck—keep the latest in this rich and satisfying series on engaging course.”—Houston Chronicle
“Walt’s voice lets readers in on his gentle and wry nature, while showcasing his devotion to bringing bad guys or gals to justice…Johnson enriches his narrative by using the setting itself as another well-developed character. Johnson’s Northern Cheyenne characters defy stereotype with self-depreciating humor and strength. Chief Lolo Long and Tribal Chief Lonnie Little Bird are especially well-crafted and appealing.”—The Denver Post
“Johnson expertly highlights his conflicted hero’s dual role as father and sheriff in this deeply satisfying installment.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“All the elements his fans love are present: lively characters, easy banter, and, of course, a touch of the supernatural. In early books, Walt was less sure of himself, but, in his eighth adventure, it makes sense that he’s now the one “giving sheriff lessons.” This book fits the hand like a well-worn glove.”—Booklist
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