Spirit of Steamboat – Craig Johnson

The Spirit of Steamboat
By Craig Johnson
Penguin Books

Reviewed by Keith Jones

“Spirit of Steamboat” is a bit of a departure for Craig Johnson. It is still a Longmire book, but this time it is an adventure rather than a murder mystery. In this book, the people of Absaroka County take a break from reducing their limited population through violent means. Rather, we are indulged in a visit from a Longmire spirit of Christmas past in the form of a young woman that a newly minted Sheriff Walt Longmire and former Sheriff Lucian Connally teamed up to save decades before.

It is no wonder that this book was named a must read by One Book Wyoming. Along with the adventure, there is sound history. The reader learns that Steamboat was the name of the iconic bucking bronco on the Wyoming license plate.

Many great books grow from a short story idea. My novel, “In Due Time” being one. This story was originally planned for one of Johnson’s “Post it” stories that he sends to this list, but as he worked on it, the story took on a life of its own and grew. Soon it was a full novella and to their merit, Penguin published it despite it breaking form with the previous books.

The reader is treated to more of Lucian than usual and gets more acquainted with Walt’s late wife Martha. “Spirit of Steamboat” is a hang-onto-your-seat ride of a book and a fun time. Start early in the evening. You just might not want to put it down until you are finished.

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