One of my favorite mystery novel series right now is Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series, which follows the sheriff of a sparsely populated Wyoming county as, slowly and sometimes painfully but with dry humor, he recovers from the cancer death of his wife and keeps the peace.
Johnson’s Longmire is a tough guy with a soft heart. He’s no spring chicken — Longmire and his native buddy, Henry Standing Bear, served in Vietnam together — but he’s rough and ready. Longmire is more than capable of dealing with the kooks and criminals that pass through his county.
His vulnerability is his heart. Longmire worries — with good reason — about his smart and independent daughter, Cady, and tries to figure out his relationship with Victoria Moretti, his imported-from-back-east deputy who is as rough-edged as she is tempting.
The books have their fair share of action, often involving the inhospitable Wyoming terrain and a group of surly bad guys. But the Longmire stories won’t be mistaken for “Die Hard.” Longmire can defuse a situation as handily as he can brawl his way out.
In light of the success of cable TV series like “Justified,” A&E announced last year that it would turn Johnson’s Longmire books into a series. “Longmire” debuts June 3.
I hope they get the show right. Robert Taylor seems a little too young to play Longmire, and Lou Diamond Phillips will have to convince me he is Henry Standing Bear. Katee Sackhoff couldn’t be more perfect as Vic Moretti, though. Sackhoff has the perfect mix of sex appeal and hot-headedness to play Vic.
I’ve read all of Johnson’s books and I’m looking forward to the next, “As the Crow Flies.”
And I’m looking forward to — if a little anxious about — the TV version.