First Line: There is a canyon in the heart of Wyoming carved by a river called Wind and a narrow, opposing, two-lane highway that follows its every curve like a lover.
Wyoming highway patrolman Rosey Wayman is worried that she might be crazy. A recent transfer to the Wind River Canyon area, she's begun receiving "officer needs assistance calls."
What's the problem? The fact that the calls are from the legendary Arapaho patrolman Bobby Womack-- who's been dead for thirty years-- has both Rosey and her supervisor doubting her sanity.
Rosey's supervisor asks for help from Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire and his friend Henry Standing Bear. They both know and like Rosey, and they want answers. Time is running out on their investigation, but one way or the other The Highwayman is going to have his say.
I'm such a Craig Johnson fan that I don't care if what he writes is short like this novella or a full-length book, as long as the man keeps writing. As popular as he's become, I have to wonder how on earth he finds the time to write because he always seems to be on tour.
Few people can write dialogue like Craig Johnson, and he proves it again here in The Highwayman. Walt and Henry talk to everyone they possibly can to figure out what's going on with Rosey. They uncover a mystery about a missing stash of 1888-O "Hot Lips" Morgan silver dollars. (No, I'm not going to tell you what that "Hot Lips" is all about!) And the deeper they dig, the more they learn about Bobby Womack, a dedicated patrolman who died in a fiery crash in the Wind River Canyon. Some of the things they learn just don't add up the way they should....
Have any of you read Johnson's last novella Spirit of Steamboat? I have, and I still remember those barn-burning action scenes that gave me paper cuts, I was turning the pages so fast. Well, you get more of that kind of action here in The Highwayman. The setting, the characters, the dialogue, the action, the story... you get everything that all we die-hard Craig Johnson fans have come to expect-- even a logical explanation for almost everything.
Trust me. If the only thing you know about Craig Johnson comes from watching the Longmire television series-- as excellent as that series is-- you really, really need to read the books. What better place to start than with The Highwayman? Once you've read this one, you're going to be going back for all the others. Craig Johnson is one of the very best writers in the business.
The Highwayman by Craig Johnson
Viking © 2016
Hardcover, 208 pages
Police Procedural/Novella, #14 Sheriff Walt Longmire mystery
Source: The publisher