“Any Other Name” by Craig Johnson (Viking, 319 pages, in stores)
The 11th Walt Longmire mystery is one of the best yet. “Any Other Name” by Craig Johnson picks up shortly after the novella, “Spirit of Steamboat,” and carries some of the story line from the earlier “A Serpent’s Tooth,” but familiarity with those and others in the series is not required to enjoy this one.
At the request of his former boss, Lucian Connelly, Longmire agrees to investigate the death of a lawman in a neighboring Wyoming county. There, Gerald Holman had been looking into cold case files when, without warning, he rented a motel room and used his pistol on himself.
Holman’s widow, who had lost the use of her legs in a traffic accident years before, needs to know why her husband would do such a thing. And Lucian, who had once had a fling with her before she was married, wants this favor on her behalf.
Longmire begins by looking into the cold case files Holman had been working. Three women, seemingly unrelated in any way, had disappeared without a trace. One was a waitress at a truck stop. One worked for the local Kmart. One danced at a strip club.
It isn’t long before Longmire discovers someone doesn’t want him looking into these cases.
He is joined in his out-of-county investigation by his undersheriff, Vic Moretti, and his best friend, Henry Standing Bear. Complicating everything is, of course, the Wyoming winter weather — which is pretty much yet another character in Johnson’s books — and applying a do-or-die deadline is the eminent birth of Longmire’s granddaughter in Philadelphia, which Longmire must attend, or else.
Oh, did I mention the paid assassin? Yes, a hired hitman is also after Longmire, and if he fails, another will take his place. The Wyoming lawman has found himself a dedicated enemy.
Johnson’s Longmire books are funny at times, suspenseful and always entertaining. There’s a reason the A&E network picked up the characters for its original series, and you can see it throughout the entire series of books.
IF YOU GO: Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire mystery series, will make a personal appearance at 7 p.m. Monday at Full Circle Bookstore.