A Walt Longmire Short Story by Craig Johnson
Review: Craig Johnson's "Walt Longmire" Western-based mysteries are being adapted into a television series this summer on A&E likely more from a character perspective than a storyline one and the short story "Divorce Horse" is clearly intended to be a brief introduction for potential viewers of the series. But Johnson misses an opportunity here to actually introduce the characters that recur in his books and will presumably show up in the television series. Some of the inter-character relationships are mentioned, but little contextual background is provided. (To be fair, the short story is marketed as an interlude between books, and includes a preview of the next in the series, with no mention of the television show. Still, one cannot help but consider its publication now to be merely coincidental.)
The story takes place on Memorial Day weekend soon after the events of Hell Is Empty; Longmire mentions he is "convalescing from my experiences chasing after the escaped convicts in the Bighorn Mountains." While dining at a café with his daughter and best friend Henry Standing Bear, he's informed that a "divorce horse" community property between a couple that has separated has been stolen from the rodeo grounds. "The much-storied case of the divorce horse was the kind of tale familiar to most rural sheriffs, involving the kind of disputes you got involved in even though it really had nothing much to do with law enforcement." Longmire does go on to get involved, but there isn't much of a mystery to solve. Indeed, what follows seems intended to set the expectation that Longmire, the television series, will be more of a Western-themed drama than a crime-inspired one.
In short, there's not much substance to "Divorce Horse"; it's a cute story but not a clever one and as such, it is a little disappointing.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided an eARC of Divorce Horse for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author
Hell Is Empty
Viking (Hardcover), June 2011
ISBN-13: 9780670022779; ISBN-10: 0670022772
As the Crow Flies
Viking (Hardcover), May 2012
ISBN-13: 9780670023516; ISBN-10: 0670023515
Location(s) referenced in Divorce Horse: Wyoming
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Divorce Horse by Craig Johnson A Walt Longmire Short Story
Publication Date: April 2012
List Price: $3.99