Lindsay, from Penguingroup Books, sent me an ARC (advanced reading copy) for a series and author that I had never heard of. The author is Craig Johnson, and his book, As The Crow Flies, is the 8th in the series. It's really tough to get into a book when you are missing so much history. Craig does not spend a lot of time with background. That means that I had to read #8 without really knowing anything about the existing characters. Of course, he introduces new characters, but the main protagonist, Walt Longmire, and his buddy, Henry Standing Bear, among many others, are a complete mystery to me.
Now that I'm done complaining, let me tell you about the book. Walt is a Wyoming sheriff. He spends much of his time on the Cheyenne Nation reservation for various cases even though he is not Cheyenne or even Native American. He is on the Rez (as they call it) looking for a place for his daughter, Cady, to get married (never mind that the wedding is in 2 weeks - he obviously doesn't know that weddings are planned 12-16 months ahead of time - okay, maybe that's just in the Bay Area). Walt and Henry are scouting out an area when they see a woman fall (or was she pushed?) from a cliff. By the time they get over to her, she's dead. Miraculously, her baby survives the fall. Walt ends up working with the new tribal police chief (a young, and very good looking, Iraqi war veteran named Lolo Long) to determine what happened. The story centers on both the mystery and the wedding.
It took me quite awhile to get into the characters. As I mentioned, not knowing anything about them, I felt a bit hamstrung. However, having said all of that (again!), I liked it. I thought it was well-written, and I really got into it. By the end, I'm sure I was as anxious as Craig's long-time readers to find out who did what - and to see if Walt was actually going to find a place for Cady's wedding (spoiler alert - he did).
If you are going to read As The Crow Flies, you might want to read book #1 first. Or, as it turns out, A&E is going to produce the series, Longmire, beginning summer of this year. You can probably get all of the background you need by watching the first episode of that series. I know I'm going to do that. I also know that I will read #9 (I assume it will come out in Spring of 2013) when it is published. This read is a good solid B.
One more thing - Henry has a truck, called Rezdawg, that is a character unto itself. You will enjoy reading about Rezdawg's antics.