Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer


Craig Johnson Spirit of Steamboat

Walt Longmire is a great addition to the mystery scene, and to summer television. I enjoy Walt in both mediums and like sitting down to see where his latest cases are going to take me.

I also appreciate the fact that author Craig Johnson sits down every now and again and blows through a short Longmire story. It usually arrives around the holidays, or maybe there’s one right before the next novel. Whenever it gets out there, I pick it up and add it to the TBR pile because I know I’ll get to it as soon as I can.

Spirit of Steamboat is probably the longest of the short novels, and Johnson addresses that in the preface before the story. It’s also kind of pricy compared to the other shorter works, and it’s not even a mystery. It’s more an adventure tale told back in the earlier days of Walt’s career.

I like the fact that Walt reads A Christmas Carol over Christmases. Somehow that just seems right.

Johnson’s love of the B-25 plane used in the novella shows, too, and I enjoyed the history lessons about the aircraft that seamlessly mix with the action and suspense of the story. It’s evident that Johnson has intimate knowledge of the plane, and that makes the setting even more real, which is a good thing because readers spend a LOT of time aboard Steamboat (the name of the plane).

The way Lucian Connally and work together in the story gives some real insight into the two men. They have a lot of friction, but they share mutual respect and understanding to things that just need doing.

The ending comes as no surprise because our heroes have to do what they set out to do, but that flight is nerve-wracking all the same because Johnson brings the whole situation to life so well. In addition to aircraft knowledge, Johnson also displays a grasp of medicine and emergency life-saving techniques.

It’s not a mystery, but even readers new to the series will find much to love with this compact little adventure.

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