Monday, August 19, 2013

Walt Longmire - the books before the TV series

There is much debate on whether or not books being converted to movies or TV series is a good thing or destroys the book for those who have not yet read it. Sometimes the interpretations are excellent, other times they actually put folks off reading the book that fathered the screenplay.

Walt Longmire has recently made it to the Small Screen. I've watched only two episodes, and it's not badly made. I don't necessarily agree with their casting choices, but they are catering to a wider audience than the readers of the books.

I must be honest that I prefer the books, though. :)

Junkyard Dogs (Walt Longmire Book 6)
Author: Craig Johnson
Amazon BlurbOne blizzardy February day, Walt and his deputies—Victoria Moretti and Santiago Saizarbitoria—visit the Durant, Wyo., dump, owned by the Stewart family, to investigate a severed thumb found in a discarded cooler. There they discover that the Stewart family patriarch, George, was almost killed after someone dragged him behind a '68 Toronado. Walt winds up playing peacemaker between the cantankerous Stewarts, longtime Durant residents, and the owner of a new housing development bordering the junkyard. When a search of the dump unearths a surprising side business and two deaths follow, Walt realizes he has bigger problems on his hands. Series fans as well as newcomers will cheer the laconic Walt every step of the way.

Review: No flashbacks this time, just a pack of dogs, a man looking for a thumb, a deputy under stress and another who wants a house. A normal sheriff’s office in a normal small town, with the obligatory odd characters and country quirks.

And then, not exactly.

I love how Johnson develops the stories, building upon the normal, introducing the ridiculous that is normal in every community, and eventually revealing the unusual, the criminal, the ugly that is found with every good and bad.

This was extremely entertaining, had me laughing out loud on several occasions, and a great read that had me totally engrossed. This is one of the books that makes me glad that this is a series, and even happier that I have another to read.

Hell is Empty (Walt Longmire Book 7)
Author: Craig Johnson
Amazon BlurbRaynaud Shade, an adopted Crow Indian rumored to be one of the country's most dangerous sociopaths, has just confessed to murdering a boy ten years ago and burying him deep within the Bighorn Mountains. Walt is asked to transport Shade through a blizzard to the site, but what begins as a typical criminal transport turns personal when the veteran lawman learns that he knows the dead boy's family. Guided only by Indian mysticism and a battered paperback of Dante's Inferno, Walt braves the icy hell of the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area, cheating death to ensure that justice—both civil and spiritual—is served.

Review: Much as I have enjoyed the entire series thus far, this one was a little far out for me. There was the usual suspense and drama that Johnson has done so well before, with a good dose of Cheyenne spiritualism that I usually enjoy, but he crosses the line into the supernatural that became hard to bear.

It all began as standard police work, but it became a personal story of endurance to the brink of madness. At some points, you wonder how much is real and how much is hallucination, at one point, even the characters in the book believe Walt tipped over the edge. I tried hard to follow the story, but Johnson is a master at weaving the storyline, and reality blurs into belief seamlessly.

These are my negative aspects, and they did factor for me. I’m not sure if I’m going to rush to buy the next book that I hear is being released shortly.

However, Johnson is still an extremely skilled author, he makes each story true and I feel like I walked every step up that mountain with Sheriff Longmire, I heard the wail of the wind, and felt the cold of the snow. Don’t let my opinions prevent you from experiencing this adventure for yourself. Rather read it and let me know what YOU think!

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