Spirit Of Steamboat: A Walt Longmire Story

Hardcover | October 17, 2013

byCraig Johnson

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A Christmas novella for fans of the hit drama series LONGMIRE now on Netflix and the New York Times–bestselling series. Craig Johnson's The Highwayman and An Obvious Fact are now available from Viking.

Sheriff Walt Longmire is in his office reading A Christmas Carol when he is interrupted by a ghost of Christmas past: a young woman with a hairline scar and more than a few questions about his predecessor, Lucian Connally. With his daughter Cady and undersherrif Moretti otherwise engaged, Walt’s on his own this Christmas Eve, so he agrees to help her.

At the Durant Home for Assisted Living, Lucian is several tumblers into his Pappy Van Winkle’s and swears he’s never clapped eyes on the woman before. Disappointed, she whispers “Steamboat” and begins a story that takes them all back to Christmas Eve 1988—a story that will thrill and delight the bestselling series’ devoted fans.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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From the Publisher

A Christmas novella for fans of the hit drama series LONGMIRE now on Netflix and the New York Times–bestselling series. Craig Johnson's The Highwayman and An Obvious Fact are now available from Viking. Sheriff Walt Longmire is in his office reading A Christmas Carol when he is interrupted by a ghost of Christmas past: a young woman wit...

Craig Johnson is the author of the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Walt Longmire mystery series, the basis for Longmire, the hit A&E original drama series. Johnson's next Longmire novel, Any Other Name, will be published June 3, 2014. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five. Visit craigallenjohnson.com and aetv...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:160 pages, 7.25 × 5.25 × 0.63 inPublished:October 17, 2013Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0670015784

ISBN - 13:9780670015788

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Customer Reviews of Spirit Of Steamboat: A Walt Longmire Story

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from perfect for a one sitting read If you're looking for a one sitting read that will keep you captivated from the first page, this is the book. I picked up this book solely due to my love of the Longmire television series. Hubby and I watch each episode together and cheer Walt on with every investigation. I loved the book, he couldn't get past the first chapter. This story departs from the normal one where Walt and his detectives have a murder to solve. In this case, it's Christmas eve, a major winter storm is moving in and Walt needs to find a way to get a severely burned child to hospital. Walt is everything I expected and wanted him to be. There was lots of 'on the edge of the seat' reading. It had me gripping the edge of my seat in fear and the next page had me cheering. Even with hubby's unfinished reading, I heartily recommend this book. Be sure to visit Craig Johnson's website to learn more about this series and the people who inspire him. While Craig is not a member of either the Crow or Cheyenne Nations, I am listing this book along with my First Nations Novels. His close relationship with his Indian friends gives him a realistic view of of life on those reservations and their relationship with the residents of the town. Unfortunately, Longmire is no longer being carried on cable TV, but will continue on NetFlix. Craig's home town of Buffalo, Wyoming, which stands in for Durant, has hosted Longmire Days in July for the past three summers.
Date published: 2015-01-11

Extra Content

Read from the Book

**This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.**1It was Tuesday, the day before Christmas, and I wasn’t expect­ing visitors. I stared at my arch?­nemesis, the little red light on my phone that connected me via the intercom to my dis­patcher, Ruby, in the other room. If I raised my voice through the open door—?­even over the drone of the lite-?­jazz Christmas carols playing in the background—?­the reception would be better, but Ruby is a stickler for procedure, so I push the but­ton except for emergencies.I stared out the window at the fat, heavy flakes falling like in a snow globe; it had been windy in the morning, but there hadn’t been too many accidents on the county’s snow-?­covered roadways, and with the updated weather reports, it was looking more and more like it was going to be a peaceful and quiet Christmas—?­something I rarely got in my business. I had no plans—?­my undersheriff, Victoria Moretti, and her mother, Lena, had decided to go to Belize for Christmas, and my daughter, Cady, was expecting my first grandchild in Janu­ary and was too pregnant to travel. I was looking forward to the postholidays when Henry and I would fly to Philadelphia to meet the baby, whose name was to be Lola. I had thought her name was to be Martha after my late wife, but Cady had decided on Lola and that was, as they say, that.I placed my book flat on my desk, words up, the weight of the sentiment holding it open. Taking a sip from my chipped Denver Broncos coffee mug, I punched the button. “Do I know her?”There was a pause, and then Ruby came back on. “She says probably not.” I waited, and I guess she felt prompted to add, “The young woman is carrying something.”“Smaller than a bread box but bigger than a subpoena?”“Walter.”I glanced up at the old Seth Thomas on the wall and fig­ured I had another twenty minutes of daylight on the taxpay­er’s dollar. “I’m doing my annual holiday reading; where is Saizarbitoria?”“Checking on a drive-?­off at the Kum & Go.” Or, as Vic liked to call it, the Ejaculate & Evacuate. “I’ve also got Lucian on line two; he wants to know if you are still playing chess tonight.”I thought about the old Doolittle Raider as I reached down and petted Dog, who was sleeping, lying low in hopes of avoiding the reindeer antlers Ruby sometimes attached to his head. “Why, has he succumbed to his usual blue Christmas?”“Possibly.”I thought about how chess night had evolved from Lu­cian’s poker games of yore, how the old Raider’s companions had died off one by one, and how he’d been left with only two regular visitors and Dog and I didn’t play poker. “Isn’t that what old widowers do? Sure, tell him I’ll be there.”It wasn’t what I really wanted to do with my Christmas Eve, but with both Cady and Vic away, I was without female companionship for the holidays. Normally I would’ve headed out to the Red Pony Bar & Grill to spend the evening with my good friend Henry Standing Bear, but he’d been spending time up on the Rocky Boy Reservation with a young divorcée these past couple of weeks—the dog who wouldn’t stay on the porchThe season was taking a toll on all of us as it usually did, but I told Ruby to send the woman in. I glanced down at my book and read the line “. . . no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused. . . .” I patted my ancient copy of A Christmas Carol and stood to accept the visitor.A dark-?­haired woman dressed in jeans and a long, ele­gant black wool coat stood in the doorway—?­she was clutching a garment bag and smiling a nervous smile, and was small and delicately boned with pale skin and what looked like a hairline crack in the porcelain of her forehead, almost as if she’d been made of china and at one point dropped.“Please, come in.” She nodded, stepping through the doorway, and studied Dog, who rose, stretched, and yawned. “Won’t you have a seat?” Her hand rested on Dog’s head as he sniffed her. I didn’t have a lot of time and figured that since it was Christmas Eve, she didn’t either. “How can I help you?”“Are you the sheriff of Absaroka County?”“I am.” I spun my hat, which, when not on my head, was in its usual spot on the edge of my desk. “And you are?”She glanced around my office, her eyes lighting on the Dickens. “You haven’t finished that book yet?”An odd question, but evidently she didn’t want to give out with her name. I glanced down at the small, hand-?­bound copy with the gilt lettering, a Christmas gift from my father to me when I was fifteen and he thought I needed to under­stand the goodness of charity and humility. “Holiday reading; a tradition of mine.”“I know.” I thought I could discern a slight whistling noise within her voice as she spoke.I stepped around my desk and extended a hand. “I’m sorry, but have we met?”The smile returned, but her hands still clutched the gar­ment bag’s black vinyl like talons on a branch; I noticed it had the name of a San Francisco dry cleaning service with an ad­dress at Taylor and Clay printed on the front. “You don’t re­member me.”The whistling was there again, as if some wind from an­other time and place punctuated her speech. Studying her face, I could see something familiar there, something from a while back maybe, but nothing I could really identify. “I’m sorry, but not really.”She looked at her feet, a small puddle of melted slush from her shoes surrounding them, and then back to me. “How long have you been the sheriff?”It was an odd question from someone who purported to know me. “Almost a quarter century—”“Who was the sheriff before you?”Still feeling as if I should recognize her, I answered, “A man by the name of Lucian Connally.” I watched her face, but there was no recognition there. “Do you mind telling me what this is all about, ma’am?”“Is he around?”I smiled. “Um, no.”“Do you have a photograph of him that I could see, please?”I stood there, looking down at her, and stuffed my hands in the pockets of my jeans. There weren’t any warning bells going off in my head, but the fact that she hadn’t given me her name or a specific reason why she was here was keeping me off balance. I didn’t move at first but then stepped past her toward the doorway; Dog padded after me, his claws making clacking sounds on the wide-?­wood-?­planked floor of the old Carnegie library that served as our office. I motioned for her to accompany us.Ruby watched as we walked past the painting of Andrew Carnegie himself to the marble landing. I took three steps down and turned so that I could look straight at the young woman, who had maintained a two-?­foot distance behind me, gesturing ­toward the wall where the 8×10s of all the sheriffs of the county since its inception in 1894 hung diagonally in a rogue’s gallery.Mine was last, with a chocolate-?­brown hat and the ri­diculous mustache and sideburns I’d had in the eighties when I’d first been elected. The photo was a color monstrosity that looked garish and déclassé next to Lucian’s classic black and white.His had been taken in the late forties a few years after the war—?­the good one, if there was such a thing. It was right before he lost his leg to Basque bootleggers, and he wore his traditional light-?­colored Open Road Stetson, a dark tie, and an old Eisenhower jacket, star attached. He was looking straight at the camera with an elbow resting on a raised knee, the other hand drawing the wool back to reveal the .38 service revolver he’d carried all those years, the one with the lanyard loop on the butt. He wore a slight smirk with an eyebrow cocked like a Winchester, which gave the impression that, if unsatisfied with the resulting photograph, he was fully prepared to shoot the photographer.I gestured toward the portrait in the cheap filigree ­discount-?­store frame. “My predecessor, the High Sheriff, Lu­cian A. Connally.”“High Sheriff?”I glanced up at Ruby, who was watching us intently. “An old term they used to use.”One of the woman’s hands disengaged from the garment bag and rose to the glass surface to rest a few fingertips there. Her head dropped a bit, but her eyes stayed on the image of the old warhorse.I felt something pull at me again as I studied her profile, sure that I had seen her before. Drawing on my experience in Vietnam to help me discern Asian features, I could tell she was not Vietnamese or Chinese—?­Japanese maybe. “Miss?”She shuddered for an instant, as if I’d shocked her by re­minding her of my presence, and then turned with tears in her dark eyes. “He’s dead?”I laughed. “Oh God, no . . .” I glanced up at Ruby, who continued to study the woman with more than some interest. “Even though there are times we wish he were.” She didn’t seem to know how to take that remark, so I added, “He can be kind of a pain in the butt sometimes.”She swept a finger across the eyelid that was nearest me and looked back at the photograph as Dog, concerned with the tone of her voice, nudged her with his broad muzzle. “I seem to remember that.”“You know Lucian?”She petted Dog in reassurance. “Does he live here, in town?”I waited a moment before responding, just to be clear that she knew I knew she was not answering my questions. “He does.”“I need to see him.”Not I want to see him, or I’d like to see him, but I need to see him. Checking in with my ethical barometer, I glanced at Ruby—?­she looked puzzled but not worried, so I took a step up, leaned a shoulder against the corner of the wall, and stuffed my hands back in my jeans. “As I’ve said, perhaps if you tell me what this is about?”She took a deep breath and hugged the garment bag closer to her chest, and there was that moment of silence when all the air goes out of the room. Her voice whistled with her breath again as she spoke. “I have something . . .” She looked down. “Something that I need to return to him.”

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Spirit of Steamboat“A nail-biter.”—Publishers Weekly“Johnson is a born storyteller, and he spins this old-fashioned adventure tale deftly….An extremely pleasant present for fans of this popular series.”—Booklist“A suspenseful adventure story….Series fans along with adventure and Western readers will raptly devour the details.”—Library Journal“Like flint to stone, the sparks fly and the humour is brilliant and barbed. . .”—Fresh FictionPraise for Craig Johnson and the Walt Longmire Mystery Series “Like the greatest crime novelists, Johnson is a student of human nature. Walt Longmire is strong but fallible, a man whose devil-may-care stoicism masks a heightened sensitivity to the horrors he’s witnessed. Unlike traditional genre novelists who obsess mainly over every hairpin plot turn, Johnson’s books are also preoccupied with the mystery of his characters’ psyches.”—Los Angeles Times “Johnson knows the territory, both fictive and geographical, and tells us about it in prose that crackles.”—Robert B. Parker “The characters talk straight from the hip and the Wyoming landscape is its own kind of eloquence.”—The New York Times  “[Walt Longmire] is an easy man to like…Johnson evokes the rugged landscape with reverential prose, lending a heady atmosphere to his story.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer “Stepping into Walt’s world is like slipping on a favorite pair of slippers, and it’s where those slippers lead that provides a thrill. Johnson pens a series that should become a ‘must’ read, so curl up, get comfortable, and enjoy the ride.”—The Denver Post  “A winning piece of work…There’s a convincing feel to the whole package: a sense that you’re viewing this territory through the eyes of someone who knows it as adoring lover and skeptical onlooker at the same time.”—The Washington Post  “Johnson’s pacing is tight and his dialogue snaps.”—Entertainment Weekly “Truly great. Reading Craig Johnson is a treat…[He] tells great stories, casts wonderful characters and writes in a style that compels the reader forward.”—Wyoming Tribune Eagle