A Little Christmas in my Mystery, Please! #4

christmas mystery giftEvery year I promise myself to read some books that have a Christmas theme well before the holiday season so I can write about them in this blog.  And every year I manage to read one …maybe two.  This year I actually remembered to start reading early enough to write this series of  blog posts.  I chose to stick to my favorite genre which is mystery and read books by authors I had always wanted to try but never did. I’ve read four books so far, so there will be at least four posts, maybe more if there’s time.

The nice thing about holiday books is that they are usually short and always have happy, feel good endings. Some bad/sad things might happen along the way to the characters we grow to care about while reading (especially in the case of mysteries), but there are plenty of “warm fuzzies” to go around at the end.

Spirit of Steamboat by Craig Johnson

First lines: It was Tuesday, the day before Christmas, and I wasn’t expecting visitors. I stared at my archnemesis, the little red light on my phone that connected my via the intercom to my dispatcher Ruby, in the other room.

spirit of steamboatSummary: “Sheriff Walt Longmire is reading A Christmas Carol in his office on December 24th when he’s interrupted by the ghost of Christmas past: a young woman with a hairline scar across her forehead and more than a few questions about Walt’s predecessor, Lucian Connally. Walt doesn’t recognize the mystery woman, but she seems to know him and claims to have something she must return to Connally. With his daughter, Cady, and his undersheriff Vic Moretti in Philadelphia for the holidays, Walt is at loose ends, and despite the woman’s reticence to reveal her identity, he agrees to help her. At the Durant Home for Assisted Living Lucian Connally 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, when three people died in a terrible crash and a young girl had the slimmest chance of survival . . .” (from the publisher)

My take: I’d been hearing a lot about Johnson lately on the book blogs I read and because of the TV show Longmire that is based on the his series’ main character, so I was pleased when I found Spirit of Steamboat on the new mystery shelf.  I liked this book.  Some of the situations that Longmire confronts are a little far fetched and the reader will have to suspend belief at times. Yet the characters drew me in and the book tugged at my heartstrings just as a Christmas novel should do. I will definitely be going back to the first in the series mainly because I want to meet the Lucian Connally character again, as well as Longmire and the others.  Readers of J. A. Jance and C. J. Box might enjoy Craig Johnson’s Longmire series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

-posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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