The Western Star by Craig Johnson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 2 comments

The Western Star by Craig Johnson narrated by George GuidallThe Western Star by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #13 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 7 hours, 39 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Sheriff Walt Longmire is enjoying a celebratory beer after a weapons certification at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy when a younger sheriff confronts him with a photograph of 25 armed men standing in front of a Challenger steam locomotive. It takes him back to when, fresh from the battlefields of Vietnam, then-deputy Walt accompanied his mentor Lucian to the annual Wyoming Sheriff’s Association junket held on the excursion train known as the Western Star, which ran the length of Wyoming from Cheyenne to Evanston and back. Armed with his trusty Colt .45 and a paperback of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, the young Walt was ill-prepared for the machinations of 24 veteran sheriffs, let alone the cavalcade of curious characters that accompanied them.
The photograph – along with an upcoming parole hearing for one of the most dangerous men Walt has encountered in a lifetime of law enforcement – hurtles the sheriff into a head-on collision of past and present, placing him and everyone he cares about squarely on the tracks of runaway revenge.

My Thoughts:
The bad thing about catching up with a series is the year long wait for the next book. And now I’m at that point again. It’s a little more painful this time because there is some unfinished business in the story that will have to wait for the next book.

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. One story is in the present and Walt is preparing to attend the parole hearing of someone he was involved in apprehending years ago. The other story told in flashback is about when Walt was a deputy and had just started working for Lucien. The two stories gradually converge and not only is the identity of the prisoner revealed, the reason for Walt’s doggedness in seeing that the prisoner wasn’t released becomes clear.

It was fun to see the younger Walt on a case and to also spend some time with the younger Lucien. I’m glad the story was not totally in the past because I like the supporting characters in the present-day story.

The Hubster and I went to see Craig Johnson at Powell’s. I was only a couple of chapters into the book at that point but he was good about not giving anything away. He said that he had too much story to fit into one book with this one so he had to find a way to split it into two books yet still have part of it resolved in this one.

Clearly I like this series since I’m still listening thirteen books in. George Guidall does a fabulous job of narrating these books. His voice characterizations are spot on and consistent.

As always with this series I highly recommend it and if audiobooks are your thing you should try that route. There is a progression to the books so you should really start with the first one.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 0 comments

An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson - Audio Edition
An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #12 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 7 hours, 50 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

In the 12th novel in the New York Times best-selling Longmire series, Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident near Devils Tower involving a young motorcyclist.

In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend, Henry Standing Bear, are called to Hulett, Wyoming – the nearest town to America’s first national monument, Devils Tower – to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry’s ’59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt’s granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won’t stop quoting, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”.

My Thoughts:
Clearly I love this series since I’m still eagerly anticipating the next book after reading the twelfth. I absolutely prefer the audio editions too. I’ve read some of the short stories in print but George Guidall’s narration is so excellent that print is always my second choice.

I had preordered this and when I finished my previous audiobook a couple of days before the release date I didn’t start another one. I wanted to be able to start this the day it was available.

Once again the action takes place away from Walt’s home town but with Henry, Dog, and later Vic on the scene there’s enough of the usual cast to make it enjoyable.

I loved that we finally got to meet the Lola who was the inspiration for the name of Henry’s car. It was also nice to get a bit more of Henry’s history.

While the mystery gets a little complicated there is plenty of humor along the way.

When I saw Craig Johnson at Powell’s he mentioned that the car chase in this one was the first he’d ever written.

As always with this series I highly recommend it and if audiobooks are your thing you should definitely try that route.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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The Highwayman: A Longmire Story by Craig Johnson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in 2016, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 0 comments

The Highwayman: A Longmire Story by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall
The Highwayman: A Longmire Story by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audio
Series: A novella related to the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 3 hours, 43 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

When Wyoming highway patrolman Rosey Wayman is transferred to the beautiful and imposing landscape of the Wind River Canyon, an area the troopers refer to as no-man’s-land because of the lack of radio communication, she starts receiving “officer needs assistance” calls. The problem? They’re coming from Bobby Womack, a legendary Arapaho patrolman who met a fiery death in the canyon almost a half-century ago. With an investigation that spans this world and the next, Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear take on a case that pits them against a legend: The Highwayman”

My Thoughts:
The bad thing about being caught up in an ongoing series is that wait for the next book. With the next book in the Walt Longmire series due out in September I was happy to hear a few months ago that Craig Johnson was releasing a novella featuring characters from the series. I almost got the print edition from the library even though I prefer the audio editions of this series. Then I found out that an audio edition was coming and that sealed it for me. I could wait for that.

George Guidall does an outstanding job of narrating this series and it has been one of my favorite audio series for several years now.

I was just glad to have the chance to get a bit of a Longmire fix while waiting for the next book.

Walt and Henry Standing Bear are away from home so most of the usual supporting characters are not part of this story and it’s not attached to any of the ongoing storylines in the series. For that reason it works well as a standalone.

As has become normal, there is plenty of mysticism and slightly paranormal stuff in this ghost story but there is also plenty of Walt and Henry’s easy banter and friendship that is quite enjoyable.

It’s a little mystery, a little ghost story, a little suspense and as always just enough humor to break the tension.

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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Dry Bones by Craig Johnson, Audio Edition

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 2 comments

Dry Bones by Craig JohnsonDry Bones by Craig Johnson, Audio Edition

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #11 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2015
Length: 8 hours, 16 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book
From the publisher:
When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum—until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government. As Wyoming’s Acting Deputy Attorney and a cadre of FBI officers descend on the town, Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death, enlisting old friends Lucian Connolly and Omar Rhoades, along with Dog and best friend Henry Standing Bear, to trawl the vast Lone Elk ranch looking for answers to a sixty-five million year old cold case that’s heating up fast..

My Thoughts
It’s pretty clear that at book number 11, I like this series. I also like it best in the audio format. I’ve read a few of the short stories in print but I do prefer to listen to Walt’s adventures as narrated by George Guidall.

This time around he’s trying to investigate a suspicious death that is complicated by the questions about who really owns the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton found on the dead man’s ranch. There are several claimants and even more suspects.

As usual there’s a mix of intrigue and humor on the way to the solution of the mystery. It’s predictable in places and surprising in others. I’m not going to go into the ongoing story lines of the recurring characters except to say that THINGS HAPPEN.

A few favorite moments:

I leaned back in my chair and tried not to display the expression I reserved for people who attempted to tell me how to do my job.

“Animals react differently. There is an old wives tale that if an animal responds to a spirit, then you can look between the animals ears and see that spirit.”

Vic ventured an opinion. “Old wives are full of shit.”

” A lot of the time I’m afraid they are, yes.”

A lot of people might underestimate my undersheriff because she was wounded; a lot of people are morons.

I absolutely recommend this series and while the printed editions are just fine I prefer the audio. George Guidall does a wonderful job with all the characters. No matter what format however, read them in order.

Rating
4.5 stars4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars4.5/5 for the narration

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Audiobook – Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in 2015, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 1 comment

Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson

Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Short Stories
Series: Related to the Walt Longmire Series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 5 hours, 8 minutes
Read by: George Guidall
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
A collection of short stories related to but not integral to the Walt Longmire series.

Why I Read It:
I love everything I’ve read by Craig Johnson and I prefer to listen to the audiobooks.

The Book:
From the author’s website:

On the heels of the Hillerman award­winning short story “Old Indian Trick”, the earliest appearances of the sheriff who would go on to star in Craig Johnson’s bestselling, award­winning novels and the hit series Longmire, fans rejoiced when Johnson began sending out a short story every Christmas Eve that featured an episode in Walt’s life that didn’t appear in the novels.

Featuring an introduction by Lou Diamond Phillips, who plays Henry Standing Bear on A&E’s Longmire, Wait For Signs collects those beloved stories and one entirely new one for the first time in a single volume. With glimpses of Walt’s past from the incident in “Ministerial Aide” when the sheriff is mistaken for a deity, to the hilarious “Messenger,” where the majority of the action takes place in a Porta Potty, Wait For Signs is a welcome addition to any Longmire fan’s shelf and a wonderful way to introduce new readers to the fictional world of Absaroka County, Wyoming.

My Thoughts:
I’ve actually read some of the short stories in this collection. Several of them were released a few years ago in ebook format as Christmas in Absaroka County. I also read a couple of them as individual ebook releases. They are all fun in their own way.

Many of them take place around the Christmas holidays but not all do.

The new to me stories in this collection were:

Firebird – On New Year’s Eve at the Durant Home for Assisted Living, Walt manages to solve both a current crime and several old unsolved ones.

Several Stations – A crashed Toys R Us truck didn’t hurt the driver and Walt manages to use his lines from a fill in performance in A Christmas Carol but just confuses people. He also does a bit of playing Santa too.

High Holidays – Chasing down people who drive off without paying for their gas is a routine call for the Sheriff’s department but not always. Beware of trying to fool a man who once dated a Jewish girl.

Thankstaking – Henry Standing Bear is not a fan of Thanksgiving but this year as he and Walt prepare for their holiday dinner at the Red Pony Café things may change that.

Petunia, Bandit of the Bighorns – Known as the ewe that launched a thousand strays, Petunia is a very special sheep and her story as told by Walt is hilarious.

Even though I’d read the other stories in this collection I thoroughly enjoyed listening to them again because I prefer to hear Craig Johnson’s stories as narrated by George Guidall. He’s absolutely wonderful and all the storied that weren’t new to me were even better in audio format.

The stories I’ve read before are reviewed in these posts:
Christmas in Absaroka County and Messenger.

My only complaint about this audiobook is that the introduction by Lou Diamond Phillips is not read by either Phillips himself nor is it read by George Guidall. The man reading the introduction consistently mispronounces Absaroka (the county where Walt works and much of Craig Johnson’s stories take place). It was like fingernails on a chalkboard to hear that error so many times during the introduction. That was a big mistake by the audiobook director.

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration

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Nutshell Review – Audiobook – Any Other Name by Craig Johnson

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in 2015, 3 stars, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 2 comments

Any Other Name by Craig Johnson, narrated by George Guidall

Any Other Name by Craig Johnson

Genre: Crime Fiction
Series: #10 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 9 hours, 26 minutes
Read by: George Guidall
Source: Purchased


The Book:

From the publisher:

A sheriff’s mysterious death spurs the tenth novel in the New York Times bestselling Longmire series, . . . In Any Other Name, Walt is sinking into high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Conally, asks him to take on a mercy case in an adjacent county. Detective Gerald Holman is dead and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of his first grandchild, Walt learns that the by-the-book detective might have suppressed evidence concerning three missing women. Digging deeper, Walt uncovers an incriminating secret so dark that it threatens to claim other lives even before the sheriff can serve justice—Wyoming style.

My Thoughts:
This has long been one of my favorite series. The audio editions narrated by George Guidall continue to be excellent audio productions. Guidall’s interpretations of all the regular characters are consistent and well done.

This entry in the series is not one of my favorites however. Walt is a great character and all of his regular friends and family have become well known to me over the years and previous books. This time around the events take place over a short period of a couple of days in the midst of an impending storm. All the elements of an exciting story are there and the mystery is interesting.

What didn’t work quite as well for me was the repetition of Walt’s near death hallucinations after serious injury. This is becoming a regular occurrence and isn’t working as well the more it happens. Also I just didn’t buy Walt’s reluctance to drop things, go to his daughter and come back.

Bottom line, it’s still a great series but this one is not as great as some of the others.

3 stars Rating 3/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration

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