As the Crow Flies
A Walt Longmire Mystery
On the heels of A&E’s blockbuster show Longmire—the latest New York Times bestseller in a “a top-notch tale of complex emotions and misguided treachery” (USA Today)
The recent A&E premiere of Longmire—a television series based on Craig Johnson’s New York Times bestselling Walt Longmire Mystery Series—was the highest rated scripted drama in the network’s history and consistently held its viewers throughout the season. Its success has readers stampeding to the bookstore, making As the Crow Flies Johnson’s biggest hardcover success.
In his eighth adventure, Walt Longmire doesn’t have time for criminals. His daughter is getting married in two weeks and the wedding locale arrangements have just gone up in smoke signals. He needs to find a new site for the nuptials—fast. Unfortunately, his expedition to the Cheyenne Reservation is derailed by a grisly death. It’s not Walt’s turf, but he’s coerced into the investigation by Lolo Long, the beautiful new tribal police chief.
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
“A top-notch tale of complex emotions and misguided treachery… Crow is a superb novel steeped in the culture of the American West.”—USA Today
“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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