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Book review: <i>Spirit Of Steamboat</i> by Craig Johnson

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the cover of the book

Walt Longmire is back – taken down memory lane by a very special ghost of Christmas past.

The story

Walt, a creature of habit to the last, takes to the home of Lucien, his predecessor, for a pre-Christmas drink and a game of chess. It's Christmas, and everything is as it should be. Walt is reading Dickens, and everything is in its place.

Then, the woman appears. There's definitely a story there, Walt can tell. The woman asks to see Lucien. Walt takes her along to his assisted living home, curious as to what it is she wants. She has a story to tell, and it involves all of them.

Walt is catapulted back to the past, and reminded again of the true spirit of Christmas.

The style

So when I found out Longmire was a TV series, because I've really only read the books, I found someone with the right cable channel and had a bit of a look. And while I found the TV series to be fine, okay, and not at all offensive, when I started reading Spirit Of Steamboat I was reminded how utterly superior the books are in EVERY WAY. Not that the TV series isn't ALRIGHT, but it just lacks the soul that Craig Johnson manages to infuse into his stories, even the little ones. I realised that Walt Longmire, written character, is so good, that I didn't even picture the main actor now that I've seen the TV series, I went straight back to my imagination. So I'm saying, in general, these books are GOOD.

Spirit Of Steamboat is no exception. It is poignant and beautiful. It's not crime fiction or a mystery, as such, but it tells such a lovely story, which is so simple but also meaningful, and it's Christmassy without being all tinsel and tack. It's captured Christmas with the intention it should have. Also, I nearly cried twice. That's pretty good for a 160 page book.

Who is this book for?

Spirit Of Steamboat would make a lovely Christmas gift. It's ideally suited for the holidays as it's very short. If you're already a Longmire fan, absolutely get this book, but by the same token if you're not, this could be a nice place to start.

If you like this book, you would also like...

Craig Johnson writes these little special releases in-between novels, and they tend to be more whimsical and less sheriff-crime-ish. So, any of those would be right up your alley. By the same token, if you love Walt Longmire as a character (and he is a good one) for goodness sake just get all the Longmires thus far. You won't regret it.

In short

Title: Spirit Of Steamboat
Author: Craig Johnson
Publisher: Viking
ISBN: 978-0670015788
Year published: 2013
Pages: 160
Genre(s): Fiction
Review Type: