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Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories - Craig Johnson

This collection contains 12 short stories about Sheriff Walt Longmire and his myriad of side kicks, set in the modern-day Absaroka County, Wyoming. There’s also an introduction by Lou Diamond Phillips, who plays Henry Standing Bear in the TV series. If you’ve been wondering if this series is for you, I think this is a good way to find out. The humor and intensity of the novels is well represented by this collection of short stories.

The story that stuck with me the most is Ministerial Aide in which a woman has been hanging out in a parked car in the cold of winter for a day or more. Walt, who’s underdressed for the occasion, sits and has a talk with her. She’s at the end of her rope and Walt can tell that. She’s also mistaken Walt for a deity and that makes for some humor in an otherwise intense story. Walt’s sense of right and wrong and what he can do about it is on top display in this tale.

Slicked-Tongue Devil surprised me twice, which I wasn’t expecting for a short story. A bible salesman comes knocking on Walt’s door with a special edition bible that Walt’s wife Martha ordered before she passed. Walt invites the man in for a chat and it’s clear he been drinking so I didn’t expect Walt to be at the top of his game. However, he quickly recognizes that not all is as it seems and I was surprised at the ruse. Then I was surprised again with how Walt dealt with the matter. That there shows you why I enjoy this author.

This book offers some food for thought. I don’t know if I would do the same thing as Walt or Henry in many of these stories and they leave me wanting to be a better person. Some stories are more humorous than others and some characters are more desperate than others. It’s a really good mix; the book isn’t weighed down by one note over another. The stories do jump around on the timeline for the series, but I didn’t mind this. I have read only two books in the series (Book 1 The Cold Dish and Book 9 The Serpent’s Tooth).

Here are the 12 tales included in this collection:

Old Indian trick
Ministerial Aide
Slick-Tongued Devil
Fire Bird
Several Stations
High Holidays
Toys for Tots
Divorce Horse
Petunia, Bandit Queen of the Big Horns