Have you been watching the TV show Longmire on A&E? Did you know that the show is based on a series of mysteries by Craig Johnson? Both the show and the books star Walt Longmire (played by Robert Taylor), the veteran sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, and a man rebuilding both his personnel and professional life in the wake of his wife’s death. Longmire is accompanied in his investigations by his former big-city deputy, Victoria Moretti (Katee Stackhoff) and his Cheyenne best friend, bar owner Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips). If you’d like to try out Johnson’s consistently well reviewed series, then start with the first installment, The Cold Dish. If the story sucks you in, rest assured that you’re in store for a nice long visit with Walt. The eighth book in this ongoing series, As the Crow Flies, was just released on May 15.
If you’re already familiar with Johnson’s work and would like to try out some other mysteries with a similar tone and strong sense of place, consider some of these:
- C. J. Box – Featuring Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden.
- James Lee Burke – Featuring Dave Robicheaux, a New Orleans detective.
- Margaret Coel – Featuring Father John O’Malley and Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden. Set on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.
- Paul Doiron – Featuring Mike Bowditch, a Maine game warden.
- Tricia Fields – Featuring police chief Josie Gray, who defends her small West Texas border town.
- William Kent Krueger – Featuring sheriff Cork O’Connor. Set in Minnessotta.